A staple on the North American racing calendar, the 3.27-mile track at VIR will stage Round 9 of the 2018 IMSA GTD championship this weekend as the second all-GT event weekend of the season gets underway.
The team returns to race action with its two car Acura NSX GT3 line up of Katherine Legge and Mario Farnbacher in the No. 86 MSR Acura NSX GT3 with Lawson Achenbach and Justin Marks returning in the No. 93 MSR Acura NSX GT3.
With 14 race entries at VIR in the Daytona Prototype category over the course of eight years, MSR will now head into its second year of GT competition with its two car Acura NSX GT3 line up. The team scored its first VIR podium (2nd) in 2009 with John Pew and Michael Valiente and will now aim to claim a podium spot amongst the highly competitive GT-Daytona field.
MSR brings a stacked line up of drivers to the race weekend, with driver of the No. 86 MSR Acura NSX GT3, Legge maintaining second place in the championship (250-232). Legge will once again be joined by Farnbacher who will be filling in for Alvaro Parente as the two will look to close the championship gap this weekend.
Having raced to victory with the team earlier this year in Detroit, Farnbacher is hoping to do just the same this weekend at VIR. The Virginia track is one that Farbacher is well familiar with, having scored an IMSA podium result on the 3.27-mile circuit in 2015.
“I am really glad to be back,” said Farnbacher “Since the first minute I raced with MSR I have felt comfortable. The crew guys are like a little family. And this comfortable feeling gives you confidence and trust. This is what every driver needs to perform well. I always liked VIR, especially the section though the fast Esses. The car is always good, but in the end all depends on the BoP to perform really well. I am pretty confident for the race because we have a great crew behind us as well as great teammates. We all work together as a team and this team will get the maximum out of the cars.”
Coming off of her NASCAR Xfinity debut at Mid-Ohio, Legge has set high goals for herself to be able to maintain her championship momentum.
“VIR will be a critical championship race for us at MSR, we need to bank some points if we are going to take the championship down to the wire,” explains Legge. “It’s a track I feel we could be competitive at and I’m looking forward to joining forces with Mario (Farnbacher) again, even though I will miss Alvaro (Parente), Mario and I get on great and race well together.”
Despite showing encouraging speed, it has been a frustrating season so far for the sister No. 93 Aura NSX GT3 piloted by Aschenbach and Marks. Both drivers are hopeful that their string of bad luck will end this weekend.
“VIR is a place I circle on the calendar every year,” said Aschenbach, who has stood on the VIR podium in both IMSA WeatherTech (2015) and IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competition (2008). “It’s a real driver’s track with high speeds, intense transitions, and exciting elevation changes. The track is smooth and very quick in some places so hopefully we can push all the way to a podium on Sunday.”
A previous GT race winner at VIR in 2004, Marks knows what it takes to stand on top of the podium at the rural Virginia circuit. Combined with another podium result in 2009 as well as competing at the track last year, Marks knows that his team is capable of a good result despite the recent run of bad racing luck.
“We really need a good weekend to restore everyone’s excitement and passion for what we do,” said Marks. “It’s been a brutal summer with bad luck, some mechanical gremlins, and an unfavorable rules scenario. But this MSR team has a lot of fight and won’t go down without swinging. VIR is an awesome race track and I’ve been fortunate enough to have won here before. I’m hopeful that our NSX GT3 will be fast, I know this team will be ready.”
Source. Sunday Group