Looking to maintain momentum in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) made gains throughout the Lime Rock Park race weekend to race in podium contention until the closing moments of the Northeast GP on Saturday, taking fourth at the finish.
During the quick two-day race weekend, the Meyer Shank Racing squad worked to develop pace with the two team Acura NSX GT3 machines. Still chasing the ideal set up as the two hour, forty minute race took the green flag, the team knew it needed to lean on the strength of fast pit stops and smart strategy to bring home valuable championship points in Round 7 of the IMSA championship season.
Saturday featured a 15-minute qualifying session ahead of the race, making for a busy race day for MSR. Looking to improve on its seventh and ninth place qualifying results, the team was eager for the all-GT event.
Katherine Legge was behind the wheel of the No. 86 MSR Acura NSX GT3 for the first stage of the race, while Lawson Aschenbach took controls of the No. 93 MSR Acura NSX GT3 with his co-driver Justin Marks slated to take over following that opening stint.
It was smooth sailing through the first four corners after the green flag, until the No. 96 car collided with Aschenbach heading into the chicane. While the No. 96 was issued a penalty for the incident, it was of little solace as the damage sustained to the left side of the No. 93 car was enough to sideline the Acura for the remainder of the race.
With Legge and Alvaro Parente tasked to be the sole Meyer Shank Racing representative on track, the battle was on. Legge raced forward to a high of fifth before turning the car over to Parente on Lap 50.
One more pit stop on Lap 103 gave Parente a new set of tires and fuel to close out the remaining hour of the race. Parente held third with six laps to go, but with quickly degrading tires, Parente had to fight his way to the finish as he took the checkered in fourth.
“I’m frustrated that I couldn’t hold onto third,” said Parente. “I tried my best to hold off the Ferrari but I just didn’t have enough in the end. I feel bad for the team because we are in the championship. The guys did an awesome job as always with pit stops and we will come back stronger at Road America.”
Legge was proud of the effort from the team despite facing a car that struggled for pace.
“Our race didn’t go entirely as hoped,” said Legge. “However the team did a phenomenal job and so did Alvaro (Parente) on getting us track position which got us to fourth in the end. We redeemed a weekend that wasn’t looking ideal but that’s how you win championships, by securing points when you don’t have the fastest car on track.”
“This was a tough weekend for us,” said Mike Shank. “It’s frustrating that Lawson (Aschenbach) didn’t get a lap in and Justin (Marks) didn’t even get to get in the car in the race. Both Katherine (Legge) and Alvaro (Parente) drove well and we were fighting for anything we could get. The team never gave up. Traffic made for a tough race but Katherine and Alvaro just hung on to it all the way to the finish.”
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will go from the shortest track on the schedule to the longest with the next race heading to Road America August 3rd – 5th.
Source. Sunday Group