The first podium finish of the 2020 season for the No. 57 Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 was a historic one—marking the first podium for a female-owned team in the history of IMSA racing. The third-place finish for the Jackie Heinricher-owned car was made possible by the continued hard work and diligence of drivers Alvaro Parente and Misha Goikhberg.
After qualifying fourth earlier in the day, Goikhberg ran a strong opening stint to position the No. 57 Acura in podium contention from the start of the 108-lap event. Pressure from behind in the following few laps did not last long as Goikhberg pulled away to a nine-second gap while chasing down second place.
It was a race of tire management for the entire field and Goikhberg did just that. Pitting on lap 31 from third, he handed a clean Acura off to Parente, who returned back on track without losing a position.
Parente maintained a steady seven-second gap in front of the fourth-place car for the majority of his two stints before a late race caution bunched up the field. On the restart, he ran some of the quickest laps of the GTD field, which saw him on the tail of the second-place car in the final laps. Parente pushed to make the pass on the last two laps but ultimately crossed the line third—earning the historic podium finish.
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will be the final event of the 2020 IMSA season on November 14.
“First of all, congratulations to MSR and the 86 car for their dominating win today. We’re very proud to stand on the podium with them and Acura. I am also extremely proud of this team of drivers and crew. They have continually fought forward this year. Even with setbacks, they’ve built the momentum to get us to this point. As I’ve said before, we expect to compete for podiums every race and today we did just that. Last season we made history by fielding the first female driver lineup for a full season of IMSA competition. Today, I’m honored to be the first female team owner to earn a podium in IMSA history. We want young women drivers and engineers to see what they can be in this sport. And, I want to personally thank Mike Shank. Without his support, guidance and mentorship, the last two years would not have been possible.”
“This was a result that we deserve. We’ve been saying for so long now how we need to get a finish that we know we are capable of and that happened here at Laguna today. The main concern going into the race was tire wear and, yes, the tires were pretty gone by the end of my stint, but the crew worked really hard to make it the best that it could be for us. Thank you to the entire team for helping get us our first podium.”
“I’m a little bit frustrated not to pass the BMW, but he defended really well so hats off to him. I was stronger than him in two points, but I couldn’t really make the launch without contact, and the timing was never there since he defended so well. But I’m really happy for the team, P1 and P3. The boys in the 86 car got the win and did a really good job all weekend, and I’m happy for me and Misha, that we finally got that podium. We’ve worked really hard for it and after tough races here in the past, it’s good to be on the podium.”
Source. Sunday Group