A weekend that started off leaving Meyer Shank Racing wanting more, ended in the team’s favor after Mario Farnbacher and Trent Hindman brought home a second place finish with the No. 86 AutoNation Acura NSX GT3 at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) on Sunday. The all GT weekend marked the ninth round of GTD competition in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Hindman and Farnbacher found themselves in the rear of the field for all three practice sessions early in the weekend and it was a tough pill to swallow for the championship leading team. But the decades-worth of IMSA experience and brainpower worked to MSR’s advantage as the team worked all weekend to be ready to fight forward in the race.
They strong podium result added to the team’s championship advantage, now provisionally leading by 37 points (241-204).
Starting from the second row, Hindman wasted no time getting a jump to the lead pack at the drop of the green flag, moving from fourth to second in the first lap of the two hour and 40-minute sprint.
Latched on to the back of the lead car, Hindman held second through the first full course caution. Under yellow Hindman made his first stop on lap 13 and returned on track in fourth. Patience was key for the young talent as he held his own in fourth before making his way to the lead by lap 28.
Turning the car over to Farnbacher on lap 31, the AutoNation-liveried Acura rejoined the fray in fourth. The MSR crew’s experience shined during a pit stop with just 50-minutes to go and saw Farnbacher leapfrog the No. 9 Porsche in pit lane to take over the lead.
Farnbacher’s pace was consist and for the final sprint to the finish, the top four cars were separated by just two seconds. Crossing the finish line second in the GTD field marked a strong conclusion to a weekend that had a slow start for the championship-oriented squad.
For the entire 86 lap sprint, the MSR duo never fell below fifth place and spent 56 laps in the top three.
The momentum gained during the VIR weekend will be carried on to the next round of IMSA action at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on September 13-15.
“This was a big weekend for us. Even though we scored second this was a win for the 86 guys. They worked hard all weekend to get the balance just right and in the end it worked in their favor. And our guys did a great job on pit stops which was crucial in this race for track position. It was a good day for the championship but it was also a good way to come back after Road America.”
“Our goal was to score championship points. We did everything that we could to do just that. It was a tough start to the weekend and we feelt lost with our setup. The Meyer Shank Racing crew got us to the top again and I am very happy with our finish today.”
“Comparing our run at Road America, the struggles that we had there, and the struggles we had here on Friday – the fact that everyone at Meyer Shank Racing pulled together to finish P2 is absolutely unreal. A big hats off to Mario (Farnbacher), Mike (Shank), Ryan (McCarthy), and the entire Meyer Shank Racing crew for doing a hell of a job. It is amazing to be apart of the this phenomenal team.”
Source. Sunday Group