Acura Wins In The Motor City
A strong qualifying performance and fast opening stint from Katherine Legge, followed by a quick pit stop by the Michael Shank Racing team and successful closing run by co-driver Andy Lally, netted the first victory for the Acura NSX GT3 in international sports car racing Saturday on the Belle Isle Park temporary street circuit in Detroit, Michigan.
When the green flag waved with just over an hour remaining, Lally held off a challenge from the Ferrari of Alesandro Balzan, and then pulled away in the closing laps to take the checkers just over two and a half seconds clear of the GTD field.
Starting at the rear of the 15-car GTD field after a crash in practice on Friday, Negri moved the #86 car up to 12th prior to pitting and handing off to co-driver Segal. In another dramatic strategy call, the MSR team elected to make the stop for driver and fuel only, saving time in pit lane by keeping the same tires on the #86 NSX and gaining six positions in the process.
Segal then moved up three more positions early in his run and attempted to hold on to third place in the closing laps. But, with just over two laps remaining, contact from the following Lamborghini of Madison Snow briefly sent Segal off-line, and he fell back to fifth at the checkers. Still, the 1/5 finish for Acura and the Michael Shank Racing team today is the best-combined result for the NSX GT-3 since it debuted in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in January.
Developed from the production Acura NSX, the NSX GT3 utilizes the production NSX’s ultra-rigid and lightweight multi-material body with aluminum-intensive space frame, which is produced at the Performance Manufacturing Center in Ohio, exclusive worldwide manufacturing facility for the NSX. The 3.5-liter racing engine uses the same design specifications as the production Acura NSX, including the block, heads, valve train, crankshaft, pistons and dry-sump lubrication system. A six-speed, sequential-shift racing gearbox delivers power to the rear wheels.
Video recaps from this weekend’s activities at Detroit, including today’s Acura victory and two Verizon IndyCar Series races, are being posted on the “Honda Racing/HPD” YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found in the HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.
Katherine Legge (Driver, Michael Shank Racing #93 Acura NSX GT3) GTD race winner at Detroit: “It’s a testament to the team, to everyone at Michael Shank Racing, Acura and HPD. They gave us a car that was capable of winning. This is a brand-new car, and the program has come so far in six months. The team has really been working hard to improve the car between each race. We’ve been strong, [finishing in the] points [in previous races], but today, we put it all together. Today was the longest hour of my life, watching Andy [Lally] drive. I was telepathically talking to him. It was harder to watch [him] than actually drive. ‘Thank you’ to everyone who has given us a chance to put together this car and this ride. In 2013, I drove with HPD in the Indy 500, and it started our relationship. I wanted to be part of their program. So it is really special [to have] everything working out. The [#86 team car] was running third, and we were going to be first and third until they got pushed out by another car. I felt so bad for Ozz [Negri] and Jeff [Segal]. We felt crushed for them. We were really hoping to be on the podium with them today. We were so looking forward for their finish.”