Staying out of trouble, laying down consistent laps times and maintaining patience were key factors in Heinricher Racing’s sixth-place finish at the Motul Petit Le Mans on Saturday. Alvaro Parente, Misha Goikhberg and Trent Hindman once again joined forces to earn another hard-fought finish at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Starting on the third row, Goikhberg had a strong first stint that kept the team in the fight through the first full-course caution on lap 16. Following 168 laps of flat-out, green-flag running, a second yellow flag was deployed at just the right time to allow the No. 57 Acura to escape going a lap down. It was all eyes forward from there on out.
After quietly running just outside the top five for the first half of the race, the No. 57 began to move through the field. With just under three hours remaining in the 10-hour event, Parente took advantage of a chaotic multi-class battle and made a move to go from sixth to third coming to the start/finish line.
Once in podium contention, there was no looking back for the No. 57 team as Parente continued his strong run to move into second before handing the Acura off to Hindman for the final two stints of the race.
Managing some tough conditions, Hindman made it through two late-race caution periods that bunched the field back up in the last 15 minutes of the race. But heads-up driving and avoidance of a late-race melee saw Hindman bring home the Acura NSX GT3 in sixth.
The team will head to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on October 31st for the next round of IMSA action.
“To run as high as second and finish where we started with a car searching for pace means this team executed flawlessly. That’s the strength and experience you need to compete at this level, and this team has it. While far from satisfied, we’ll take these championship points earned over a hard 10 hours of racing and keep climbing. We’re pushing to get Acura the manufacturers championship it deserves.”
“I just felt like we didn’t really have the pace today. We were able to maintain our position but we couldn’t capitalize on it towards the end. In such a long race it’s important to keep it consistent and have good pit stops so that we can fight for a result at the end. I think the team did everything they could today, but we lacked some pace compared to the some of the other cars, especially the Porsches in a straight line. We’ll definitely take what we learned here and push for a better result at Laguna.”
“There were a couple of moments in the race that I thought that we could get a podium finish, but then the pace just started to fall off. I was able to bring the Acura up to second but keeping it there was a bit difficult. Trent did the best that he could do at the end and we finished sixth. One of these races, everything will click for a podium finish. Hopefully, that will be at Laguna.”
“I have to thank the team for having me back for another race. I wish I could have helped Alvaro and Misha get a better result, but we just didn’t have to pace to be able to compete up front. The guys in pit lane had some great stops, and we had seamless driver changes that really helped us. The last stint was pretty tough and I had a hard time getting the car to brake and slow down enough into the corners. We started sixth and finished sixth, so we didn’t lose any positions but you always want to do better. I’m really looking forward to being back with the team for the Sebring 12-hour next month.”
Source. Sunday Group