It was the first endurance race in eight months for Mario Farnbacher, Matt McMurry and Shinya Michimi, but the strength of the Meyer Shank Racing-prepared Acura NSX GT3 did not disappoint as the team claimed its first victory of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech season on Saturday at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The win is the sixth for MSR in IMSA competition with the Acura NSX since first moving to the category with the GTD platform in 2017.
Meyer Shank Racing’s veteran line up of pit crew members on the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 – some of which have been with the team since the 1990’s, displayed their expertise on pit lane during the race. Over the course of the six hour endurance event, the No. 86 Acura made up several positions on multiple occasions as the Ohio-based squad executed with both speed and precision.
Placing the Acura NSX GT3 fourth during Friday’s qualifying, Michimi was hoping to give his full-season teammates Farnbacher and McMurry a strong run to extend their championship lead.
Taking the green flag, Michimi moved up two positions to race forward to second before turning the car over to McMurry on Lap 86.
McMurry, who was making his 150th race car start, took the controls during the critical middle stint of the race. Managing constant situations with heavy traffic in the four-class race, McMurry moved through the field with ease to hand the Acura off to Farnbacher on Lap 169 from second.
An absolutely flawless pit stop that was lightning fast allowed the team to leapfrog Farnbacher into the GTD lead as he returned to the fray for the final 90-minutes. With Farnbacher extending his lead to nearly 10 seconds, the victory was well in sight. That was, until a yellow flag came out with just 15-minutes to go.
With a restart that left just two laps for an all out fight to the finish, Farnbacher pulled away from the pack of GTD cars behind him, driving to the finish line to claim victory for the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 squad.
The next round of of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be at Meyer Shank Racing’s home track at Mid-Ohio on September 25-27.
“This was a big win for us in many ways. We’ve come so close to getting a it and we just couldn’t make it happen. So this win, especially during an endurance event, was really good for us. This win also puts us in a good position in the championship. We’ve been staying consistent with our finishes which will help us in the long run. Shinya did a great job considering he has not been in the car since January. Matt continues to show improvements each race and Mario did what he needed to do to bring it home in the end. I’m really proud of these guys, especially the crew who just knocked it out of the park on pit stops today. I’m really happy with the result today.”
“This win is such a relief for us, it’s something that we’ve come so close to getting, but just couldn’t quite get there. The crew really worked their asses off during the pit stops today. We were really unlucky during the Rolex 24 and we have progressively been working really hard to keep collecting points for the championship. Now to finally get the victory, it’s such a good feeling. There’s so many people working behind the scenes, Honda, Acura, MSR, that have all helped us to get here.”
“Today the MSR guys just did everything right and the crew did so awesome – all of our pit stops were super fast. Shinya started the race off really strong and put me in a good position for when I had to get in the car and Mario finished perfectly. To get a win on my 150th race start is a pretty good feeling too. A big thank you to everyone at MSR for giving us a great car today.”
“It was a really wild race for us, we were always kind of running in the top five and then top two towards the end. Honestly the differentiator here was our guys on the pit wall, they were really epic. All of our pit stops were super fast and that helped us jump a couple guys. I just really have to thank everyone at Meyer Shank Racing and Acura for the opportunity and I’m already looking forward to the next two endurance races.”
Source. Sunday Group