There will be further New Zealand flair on the grid at this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto as Tom Blomqvist fills in for injured Meyer Shank driver Simon Pagenaud.
Pagenaud was absent on the grid at Mid-Ohio following a spectacular barrel roll crash in practice caused by a “manufacturer brake failure”. While he could walk away after being assisted from the wreck, Pagenaud was not cleared by IndyCar’s medical team to qualify for the race on Saturday afternoon.
That standdown has since carried over to this weekend, with Pagenaud sharing a statement to Twitter this afternoon.
“After undergoing further medical evaluation this week under the care of the IndyCar medical team, I have not been cleared to race,” he wrote.
“While I feel good, I am still recovering. With back-to-back races, there just wasn’t enough time to allow my body to fully recover in time to compete this weekend.
“I will continue to follow the medical team’s recommendations so I can be back racing soon. Thank you everyone for your support.”
That paves the way for two-time 24 Hours at Daytona winner Blomqvist, who has traditionally applied his trade in sports cars over the past seven years.
“Diving straight into the deep end! Blomqvist posted on Twitter when the news broke. “Wishing Simon a speedy recovery and hoping he can get back behind the wheel soon.
“I’d like to thank Mike and Jim at MSR for this opportunity in IndyCar it’s gonna be one heck of a challenge. Will go out there, soak it all in and give it my all!”
Blomqvist races under the British flag but is a triple-national of New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Most of his junior career was spent in New Zealand, where he won eight karting titles between 2003-2008, before moving to Europe at 15 years old to pursue a motor racing career.
That move has since paid dividends, with Blomqvist now a regular name on IMSA and endurance racing entry lists. He was the 2022 IMSA DPi Champion with Meyer Shank Racing, with whom he will compete this weekend.
Blomqvist has previously tested IndyCar machinery at Sebring, however, this weekend’s 85-lap race over the 1.786-mile, 11-turn street circuit presents a new challenge for the 29-year-old.
Fellow New Zealanders Marcus Armstrong, Scott Dixon and Scott McLaughlin will all be in action at the event.
Header Image: IndyCar