Making their debut at the Charlotte ROVAL, Alvaro Parente and Misha Goikhberg took the No. 57 Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 to a fifth-place finish on Saturday night—making the biggest move in the field by gaining seven positions from the start.
A quick two day race weekend brought the No. 57 Acura NSX GT3 to the Charlotte ROVAL for the first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event at the 2.32-mile circuit. Both dry and wet conditions on a busy Saturday, which included a final practice, qualifying and the night race, made things interesting for the all-GT field.
An incident in qualifying resulted in rear suspension damage for the No. 57. Fortunately, the crew was able to repair the damage, but it forced Heinricher Racing to start at the back of the field in 12th for the 100-minute sprint race.
Taking the green flag in very wet conditions, Goikhberg fought through low visibility with unpredictable grip to bring the Acura to pit lane 30 minutes into the race from 10th. A fast driver change and quick pit stop allowed Parente to leapfrog several cars to restart from seventh.
Despite challenging and constantly changing conditions that saw several cars go off course, Parente drove a mistake-free stint and patiently moved up the order as he battled through the competition. One final restart with just under five minutes to go packed the field, but Parente was able to advance two more positions in just two laps to round out the top five.
The next IMSA event will take the team back to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for the annual Motul Petit Le Mans on October 17th.
“Like I’ve said before, this team shows its amazing grit and ability after the incident in qualifying put us at the back of the field. It also shows the strength of the drivers, crew and the Acura NSX GT3 to make the biggest move through the field to fifth place in the shortest race of the year. We continue to push. We just need some racing luck.”
“It was a very up and down weekend for us, which ultimately resulted in a fifth-place finish. Although it was a solid points day, we know that we are capable of doing better. Our pace in the wet was surprisingly slow, so we will have to go back and look at why that was. The team once again had a perfect pit stop that helped us gain a few positions. For the next seven days, the only thing on our minds will be Petit Le Mans. Big thank you to the team and all of our partners for the help and support this weekend.”
“The ROVAL was a very tough race and in very tough conditions with the rain. I tried to focus on being consistent and not making any mistakes, because at this track if you made even a small mistake, you were likely going to go off. Considering where we started, a fifth-place finish is pretty good for us. We’re hoping to improve on that next weekend for Petit.”
Source. Sunday Group