After ten races and thousands of miles of racing, it all comes down to the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans weekend for the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) Acura NSX GT3. Ten tough hours of day into night racing will determine the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar GTD championship this Saturday.
Meyer Shank Racing knows the feeling of victory at the iconic Road Atlanta circuit after scoring an overall victory in 2016 to close out the season in its 250th start in IMSA competition. Now, the team has set its sights on not only earning its first GT victory at the 2.54-mile circuit, but also clinching its first IMSA championship.
MSR driver Katherine Legge enters the race weekend just 6-points behind the championship lead with her No. 86 MSR Acura NSX GT3 entry. Legge will be once again be bolstered by a strong line up of co-drivers as she prepares for what could be one of the biggest races of her life. Joining Legge in the No. 86 MSR Acura NSX GT3 will be Alvaro Parente, who shared the team’s most recent victory at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and who will be competing at the Georgia track for his very first Petit Le Mans.
Both Legge and Parente will also be competing in the final round of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup where they currently sit second in the standings and just 2-points behind the lead.
MSR driver Trent Hindman also makes his return to the team, having raced to the Rolex 24 At Daytona podium to open the 2018 IMSA season on board the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 entry. Hindman competed in the 2017 edition of the Petit Le Mans and will utilize that knowledge for this year’s event.
The No. 86 machine will also be sporting a new look this weekend with a Continental Tire “Celebrates You” livery. The team looks to spread its thanks to Continental Tire as it will be the final IMSA race for the iconic tire brand.
Also back in the MSR line up is the No. 93 MSR Acura NSX GT3 of Lawson Aschenbach and Justin Marks. The strong pairing will be joined by German ace Mario Farnbacher. Marks arrives at the Georgia circuit fresh from another outstanding outing in NASCAR Xfinity competition having scored a runner-up result at the Charlotte Roval in his final NASCAR race. Aschenbach has made several Petit Le Mans starts, claiming 5th in IMSA GTD competition in the 2016 season finale.
Farnbacher has made several appearances with MSR throughout the year, driving to victory with Legge at Detroit as well as earning the No. 86 Acura’s fourth podium of the season at VIR. With a slew of bad luck having hampered the results for the No. 93 at various points in the season, the Aschenbach, Marks and Farnbacher trio are hoping to end the season on a high note.
Continuing the MSR tradition at Road Atlanta, the team will welcome fans to sign the hoods of both the No. 86 and No. 93 team cars. Fans are encouraged to stop by the team transporter during the official autograph session on Friday from 2:00-2:45pm ET as well as during the Fan Walk at 9:45am on Saturday to get their name on the team cars.
The annual Motul Petit Le Mans race weekend will begin at 11:05am ET on Saturday, October 13th.
Meyer Shank Racing 2018 Motul Petit Le Mans Team Quotes:
Katherine Legge, No. 86 MSR Acura NSX GT3: “All I and the team can do is to do our best. I will be as best prepared as I can be, but I’m also aware it’s a long race and there is a lot that is out of my control. I think we have to view the race as a matter of survival for the first nine hours and then depending on where we are we can do battle right until he very end.”
Alvaro Parente, No. 86 MSR Acura NSX GT3: “I think we just have to go out there and focus on going as fast as possible and do all the homework and preparation that we normally do. We will try to get the best set up of the car during practice and obviously see where our competitors are and try our best to get that championship. I’m looking forward to the race. I’ve seen some footage of the track and it will be another Northern American track I will get the chance to drive at and the event itself is a great endurance race so I really can’t wait to be part of it.”
Trent Hindman, No. 86 MSR Acura NSX GT3: “Having the experience of running this race in GTD once before makes me feel a whole lot more confident coming back to it a year later. The Meyer Shank Racing team has an incredible amount of knowledge to call upon when it comes to these long distance races and I’ll certainly be looking to add to that with the best of my abilities. For me, and really I think for the entire MSR crew, it’s going to be business as usual. There is a good reason why this team finds themselves in the position that they are currently in, and it’s obviously been working very well. Either way, my job personally will be to deliver Kat (Legge) and Alvaro (Parente) a clean car in the best position possible and that’s where my focus lies.”
Lawson Aschenbach, No. 93 MSR Acura NSX GT3: “Our goal is simple…win the race! It’s no secret that the 93 team had a rough year, but we always keep our head up and continue to push ourselves to get better. We will be firing on all cylinders to help get this car to the top step of the podium. I feel we’ve made solid gains with the Acura NSX over the past few months. We’ve been working hard to find a setup that allows for speed and longevity, something that is tough to balance. I have no doubt that both cars will be fighting to end the season on a high note!”
Justin Marks, No. 93 MSR Acura NSX GT3: “At this point I think we really just want to have a strong, drama-free run, and put this car on the podium. It’s been such a challenging year and this team and these 93 car guys deserve a good finish. Every endurance event this year I feel like the car has been very strong. And the team has had great strategy and great execution. The NSX is certainly up to the task, it’s just about putting it all together over 10 hours.”
Mario Farnbacher, No. 93 MSR Acura NSX GT3: “We definitely saw a great performance last year at Road Atlanta so I am positive that the car will perform great. Beside that our team had a good test here in Atlanta a few weeks ago, and we continued to learn more about the car. You don’t believe that Petit Le Mans is a rough race, but it definitely is. For example, if you use at turn 3 the apex curbing, it gives you a time advantage but is really hard on the car over 10 hours and it could cause damage. So, one of the keys is to keep the car clean till the end of the race, because that is when the racing begins.”
Source. Sunday Group