Despite getting involved in an ill-timed accident which collected the No. 69 HART Racing Acura NSX GT3, the team made repairs under tense conditions to finish out the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring sixteenth.
Known as one of the most demanding tracks on the IMSA schedule, HART Racing came into the weekend undaunted by the challenge. Despite never having turned a lap at the 3.7-mile circuit with the Acura NSX GT3 machine, HART Racing made as many preparations as possible to roll off the truck with a competitive car.
Drivers Chad Gilsinger, Ryan Eversley and Tom Dyer teamed up to take on the 3.7-mile circuit for the start of the 12-hour endurance event. Dyer’s impressive eighth place qualifying effort – leading the four Acura GTD machines – set the team up to have a strong race.
With the warmest temperatures of the event weekend cascading over the afternoon hours, HART Racing opted to single stint each driver to maximize performance. Dyer was on the move in the early hours and Eversley brought the No. 69 machine to a high of fourth on lap 200 after the race clock struck the halfway mark.
The trio of drivers were on the pace for a top five finish until an unfortunate incident in Turn 17 forced the No. 69 to pit lane with significant damage after getting struck with debris. Luckily the HART Racing squad’s knowledge of the NSX facilitated the repairs to be made in record time, sending Dyer back out on track.
Unfortunately the incident set back the No. 69 just enough for them to be unable to return to the lead lap as the raced to the finish but had to settle for a sixteenth place result. Despite the troubles that pursued the HART Racing team, they once again used its determination and “never give up” attitude to complete the 12 Hour long endurance event.
“Everything was working perfectly,” said Gilsinger. “We were in the top-ten and even in the top-five for pretty much the whole race. Everything was playing our way at the end and we were even planning on making one less stop which would have put us in the top five. But unfortunately we got in an incident with one of the Prototype cars and got collected in the debris from that. I really can’t say enough how proud I am of the team and how amazed I am of their spirit.”
Dyer, who unfortunately got tangled in the late race incident was disappointed with how it played out but was proud of the team for coming together quickly to make the proper repairs.
“This was just one of those freak situations that we got caught up in,” said Dyer. “I had no where to go but the guys had everything ready right when I arrived at the pit box. I thought our race was done but the HART Racing guys managed to get me back out there so we could finish the event. I’m so grateful for the hard work put in this weekend by everyone and for the team giving me the opportunity to get back in an Acura NSX GT3.”
A strong run gave the team the hope that a solid finish was in order, but the cards did not play right for the team of “volunteer” engineers.
“I was happy with the pace,” said Eversley, “but the thing I took away the most for the second race in a row we didn’t have a single pit stop penalty or an error from the crew, and this was when they had to jump over the wall at the last second when we came in with massive damage. You have to remember that this is a group of volunteers, but they didn’t have one issue or problem. It was another great effort from these guys.”
The HART Racing squad will continue its IMSA Endurance Championship effort at Watkins Glen on July 28th – July 1st.
Source. Sunday Group