Perfectly executed pit stops, well-played strategy and great team synergy all combined for a 1-2 finish for the Meyer Shank Racing squad at the Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear on Saturday. The win marked the team’s second consecutive victory at Detroit after taking the win last year.
A near perfect weekend for Meyer Shank Racing all led up to a moment in history for the Ohio-based team as it locked in the top two steps on the podium after leading 40 laps of the 100-minute event which marked Round 5 of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar competition.
The No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX machine piloted by Katherine Legge and Mario Farnbacher crossed the line victorious to score the team’s third podium of the 2018 season and helping to bolster their already strong hunt in the championship.
The sister car of Lawson Aschenbach and Justin Marks matched the team’s strong run in Detroit with a second-place finish, also giving MSR its first ever 1-2 finish in the team’s 23 year history.
The team got off to a strong start to the weekend, topping Friday’s practice session as well as warm up on race day morning. With two strong Acura NSX machines ready to launch, the team immediately got to a fast start at the drop of the green flag.
With Marks and Legge taking on the first stint, it was evident that the battle for the lead would be a close fight. Legge’s gap on the leader narrowed each lap as she continued to put the pressure on. Marks, in the No. 93 Meyer Shank Racing machine, followed up his strong qualifying effort with a solid stint holding third and giving the team a good track position before pitting on Lap 23.
A strategic move to pit for only a change of left side tires, fuel and a driver change would be the deciding factor in getting the lead once the pit sequence was complete. A perfectly executed pit stop brought Achenbach back out on track ahead of the leader as the No. 86 machine pitted the following lap for the same left side tires and fuel.
Flawless back to back pit stops, helped to reorganize the top three, with the two Meyer Shank Racing machines in first and second position.
With Farnbacher leading the GTD field and Aschenbach close behind in second, it was a sprint to the finish with a straight 53 lap green flag run to the checkered.
The close of the 100-minute, 68 lap race brought home the team’s first ever 1-2 finish in team history and a second consecutive win for MSR and Acura at the Belle Isle course.
Having competed in the Indianapolis 500 less than one week prior, Mike Shank thanked his crew for their continued effort to put together winning cars. Shank also dedicated this race to Vice President and General Manager of Honda’s Acura Division, Jon Ikeda.
“I’m a little overwhelmed right now,” said Shank of his team’s top scoring race performance. “I am definitely dedicating this race to Jon Ikeda from Acura who really brought performance back to Acura and had the faith in us back when we started this NSX program. I am just so thankful for this result. It’s really just perfection on execution. We knew from the moment we unloaded that the race was going to be about good pit stops. We worked on it all weekend, we perfected it and we executed. I couldn’t be happier to have both of our cars up on the podium and it’s a first, in 23 years, that two of our cars finished first and second. I couldn’t be happier right now.”
The next round of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar competition brings the MSR team to Watkins Glen for the 6 Hour classic on June 28th – July 1st.
Katherine Legge, No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3: “I’m super pumped with our results today! It was the best possible outcome. I am over the moon happy. Now we are right there with them in the championship so we have to just move on to the next one to continue the fight. It’s for the championship so we have a different outlook and hopefully we can keep racing and moving forward.”
Mario Farnbacher, No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3: “First I have to thank Mike (Shank) and the team for bringing me in to race this weekend and trusting me. My main job was to keep this car competitive and most importantly to save fuel during the race. Fuel saving is not always easy but with the gap I had a pretty good spot on the track to maintain my savings. With no pressure I could be consistent and bring it home! I am just so thankful the team thought of me for this spot. I hope Alvaro (Parente) and Kat (Legge) continue this good run through the rest of the season.”
Lawson Aschenbach, No. 93 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3: “I’m thrilled to finally get a podium and it’s really good for us to get the monkey off our back. We’ve been so fast all year and we just missed out on podiums. Hats off to Katherine (Legge) and Mario (Farnbacher), they definitely had it going for them this race. As we got close to the end it would have taken something drastic to pass them [No. 86]. We were also trying to save fuel, but all in all I am happy for Meyer Shank Racing and Acura. These guys have been working so hard all year and I will take a 1-2 result any day even though I would of course rather be in that top spot.”
Justin Marks, No. 93 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3: “The car was good during the first stint. It was what we expected handling wise. I am really happy that we laid out a strategy and it played out exactly how we wanted it to. We were able to keep both cars in the top two. The team did an awesome job on the pit stop strategy to leap frog us to the front. We talked a lot about how the first stint of the race was going to go and we hit it on the head. I am really happy about the performance we had today and to nab that first podium.”
Source. Sunday Group