Oct 13, 2018 – BRASELTON, GA
- Second-place GTD finish for Katherine Legge and Alvaro Parente in season finale
- Effort leaves Legge and Meyer Shank Racing four points short of championship
- Acura Team Penske recovers for fifth-place Prototype result following mid-race penalty
- 2019 Acura NSX GT3 Evo unveiled at Road Atlanta
Katherine Legge and her Meyer Shank Racing team fought all the way to the checkers Saturday at Road Atlanta, with a second-place finish in their #86 Acura NSX GT3, leaving them second in the GTD championship following the season-ending Petit Le Mans endurance contest.
In Prototype, the #7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 of Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor and Graham Rahal contended for the overall win for the first two-thirds of the 10-hour race, then recovered from a penalty for passing under caution to finish fifth.
On Friday, Acura unveiled an enhanced NSX GT3, designated the NSX GT3 Evo, which will compete on racetracks throughout the world in 2019, including the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The Acura NSX GT3 Evo remained on display in the Road Atlanta infield “Fan Zone” throughout the race weekend.
Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3
In a battle worthy of the season-long championship contenders, Legge and co-drivers Alvaro Parente and Trent Hindman maintained their fight with rival Paul Miller Racing and drivers Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow and Corey Lewis from start to finish.
Legge and the MSR team came to Road Atlanta trailing Sellers and primary co-driver Snow by six points. To claim the title, the Acura team would have to finish a minimum of two places ahead of the Sellers/Snow/Lewis Lamborghini. With less than an hour remaining, that scenario looked possible, as Parente led in the #86 MSR Acura and Sellers ran fourth. However, Sellers was able to gain a position to third; and a “bump and run” move by the Ferrari of Daniel Serra dropped Parente to second. The trio finished in that order, giving Sellers and Snow the championship by just four points.
After starting fourth, the #93 MSR Acura of Lawson Aschenbach, Justin Marks and Mario Farnbacher ran as high as second in GTD, but was forced out of the race in the fifth hour due to a cracked oil fitting and resulting leak.
On Friday, Meyer Shank Racing announced a partnership with Heinricher Racing and sponsor Catepillar for a full-season 2019 Acura NSX GT3 effort for Legge and co-driver Jackie Heinricher. Indianapolis 500 veterans Simona de Silvestro and Bea Figueiredo [Ana Beatriz] will complete the driver lineup in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.
Acura Team Penske Prototype
Castoneves, Taylor and Rahal kept their Acura ARX-05 prototype in the top three for much of the opening six hours of today’s 10-hour race, leading several times. But in the eighth hour, Castroneves received a “drive through” penalty for passing another car while a local yellow flag was displayed, dropping the trio to seventh. A strong recovery in the final two hours resulted in a fifth-place finish.
After starting the #6 Acura ARX-05, Juan Pablo Montoya ran fifth in the opening hour, but locked a brake and made impact with the Turn Three barrier in the second hour of the race. The car went behind the wall for extensive repairs. The car returned to competition in the fifth hour with Dane Cameron at the controls, but well down the field. Cameron, Montoya and third driver Simon Pagenaud persevered to finish 13th among prototypes.
Saturday’s race concluded the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and the return of Acura in the prototype category, in addition to the company’s continued participation in the popular and competitive GTD division.
Acura returns for the 2019 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which opens January 26 with the Rolex 24 at the famed Daytona International Speedway.
Social media content and video links from this weekend’s Acura Motorsports activity at Road Atlanta are available on HPD’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and on Twitter at (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD).
Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, YouTube video packages from the weekend can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.
Katherine Legge (driver, #86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3) finished second in GTD, and second in GTD Drivers’ Championship after a season including two wins, four second-places and a third: “Congratulations to the Paul Miller team, because they deserved it at the end of the day. But I’m so proud, incredibly proud, of Acura and my MSR team. They did a phenomenal job of getting us into a position where we could win races and challenge for the title. Alvaro [Parente, co-driver] drove superbly all year long. He deserves to finish second with me, really. Trent [Hindman, third driver] did a great job today and the team performed flawlessly. I’m honestly disappointed. I wanted to win the championship so badly. But realistically, there’s nothing to be upset about. We had a great season, and a great springboard for next year.”
Helio Castroneves (driver, #7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05) finished fifth: “Acura Team Penske did a phenomenal job. Everybody was really pushing and performed well. It’s just unfortunate that we were penalized [for passing under caution]. I completely, absolutely disagreed with the call. I saw the yellow [flag] and waited until I was past the scene [of a car stalled off course] before I made the pass. But the officials did not see it that way. We had a car capable of winning, and we were in the hunt for the win until the penalty. The good news is we showed great momentum. What we learned this year, we’ll apply next year.”
Stephen Eriksen (Vice President and COO, Honda Performance Development) on today’s season finale Petit Le Mans race: “In Prototype, a fifth-place finish for the #7 Acura ARX-05 is not really representative of the pace demonstrated in the race by all three drivers. The race effectively ended in the second hour when an apparent brake issue on the #6 resulted in a crash. Acura Team Penske did a great job getting the car repaired and back on track later in the race. GTD was an event-filled weekend, with the unveiling of the Acura NSX GT3 Evo for next season, an exciting 2019 program announcement for Meyer Shank Racing, and a very close battle for the championship that was not decided until the last lap. We certainly learned a lot this season, and look forward to applying it in 2019.”
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
|Circuit:||Road Atlanta (2.54-mile road course) Braselton, GA|
|Weather:||Sunny, mild, 72 degrees F|
Top-6 Prototype Results:
|1.||Prototype||Renger Van Der Zande / Jordan Taylor||Wayne Taylor Racing||Cadillac DPi VR||443 laps|
|2.||Prototype||Tristan Nunez / Oliver Jarvis
Lucas De Grassi
|Mazda Team Joest||Mazda RT24P||+5.306 seconds|
|3.||Prototype||Spencer Pigot / Jonathan Bomarito
|Mazda Team Joest||Mazda RT24P||443 laps|
|4.||Prototype||Filipe Albuquerque / Joao Barbosa
|Action Express||Cadillac DPi VR||443 laps|
|5.||Prototype||Helio Castroneves / Ricky Taylor
|Acura Team Penske||Acura ARX-05||443 laps|
|6.||Prototype||Pipo Derani / Johannes van Overbeek
|Tequila Patron ESM||Nissan JSP 217||443 laps|
|13.||Prototype||Juan Pablo Montoya / Dane Cameron / Simon Pagena||Acura Team Penske||Acura ARX-05||310 laps – running
[delayed – contact]
Top-6 GTD Results:
|1.||GTD||Cooper MacNeil / Daniel Serra
|Scuderia Corsa||Ferrari 488 GT3||407 laps|
|2.||GTD||Alvaro Parente / Katherine Legge
|Meyer Shank Racing||Acura NSX GT3||-0.876 seconds|
|3.||GTD||Bryan Sellers / Madison Snow
|Paul Miller Racing||Lamborghini Huracan||406 laps|
|4.||GTD||Patrick Long / Christina Nielsen
|Wright Motorsports||Porsche 911 GT3R||406 laps|
|5.||GTD||Townsend Bell / Bill Sweedler
|Scuderia Corsa||Ferrari 488 GT3||406 laps|
|6.||GTD||Daniel Morad / Sheldon van der Linde
|Land Motorsport||Audi R8 LMS||406 laps|
|12.||GTD||Lawson Aschenbach / Justin Marks
|Meyer Shank Racing||Acura NSX GT3||186 laps – did not