Colin Braun was the breakout star of IMSA’s 2023 GTP season in Meyer Shank Racing’s No. 60 Acura ARX-06.
Partnered with MSR’s IMSA DPi champion Tom Blomqvist, Braun was a perfect match in and out of the car, and when it was time to attack, the Texan was routinely chosen to go hunting for GTPs.
Three wins and five podiums from nine races spoke volumes about the combination of Blomqvist and Braun, and with Blomqvist nominated by MSR to step up this year to a full-time role in IndyCar, his former teammate continues to harbor a dream of joining him in the series where he’s always wanted to test his skills.
“For me, 2023 was a great year, obviously,” Braun told RACER. “I was really focused on knocking that opportunity out of the park because it was a big shot for me. If you look back over my career, there were times like in 2018 with CORE autosport where I was able to compete in the top class and had great success, so it was great to be back in the top class and re-show what I know I’m capable of doing.
“It’s no secret from my side that I’ve always been really interested in trying to put together an IndyCar program. I did NASCAR for five years, and then it was back to sports car racing, and throughout that whole time, I’ve always really wanted to get a chance at the IndyCar side, and I feel like my driving style would certainly suit the current IndyCars really well. This is exactly where I want to race and I’m trying to find a way to get in.”
Having spent a year alongside him in GTP while learning the ropes in IndyCar with three races spent in MSR’s No. 60 Honda, Blomqvist says Braun would be a perfect fit in the NTT IndyCar Series.
“When he first came and tested with us, the first thing I noticed was he adapts very quickly,” Blomqvist observed. “He’s definitely got a knack for figuring something out quickly and he’s not afraid of jumping in the car and just ragging its neck off. If you look back at his career, he’s done almost everything, and you see that when he jumps in the car. When everything’s fresh and there’s not much grip out on track, he just sends it. He’s not one of those guys who needs a few laps to build up his confidence, to test the waters.
“On cold tires, just out the pits, he’s mega. Honestly, I’ve seen some quick teammates in my time, but he’s probably one of the quickest dudes I’ve ever seen in a high-speed corner. I learned a lot from him in Mosport. These new GTP cars are not the easiest things to drive, let alone in quick corners. They’ve got lower downforce, they’ve got a lot of power, and they’re heavy. The tires are very different. And this guy was not afraid of anything. I had to lean on him, going through all his data and trying to figure out what he was doing there.”
Getting the most out of a GTP car in an IMSA race is remarkably similar to what it takes to succeed in IndyCar, according to Blomqvist.
“What you saw at the end of the race at Petit Le Mans with Colin, on cold tires, and out-laps on those new GTP tires, was incredible,” he said. “I think we worked out really well together, because his starts, restarts, on cold tires, out-laps… enabled us to do good things. He’s been overlooked, but he proved that shouldn’t be the case.
“He’s super-easy to work with, no ego, which is what you need working with teammates. Now that I’ve done a few IndyCar races, I think he’d be phenomenal. I think he’d get on really well in that discipline.”