Acura announces GTD drivers for 2017 IMSA campaign

Acura has confirmed the four drivers who will lead its factory GT Daytona programme during the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.

Andy Lally, Katherine Legge, Jeff Segal and Oswaldo Negri Jr will pilot the two Acura NSX GT3s, which will be prepared and run by Michael Shank Racing.

The NSX GT3 is a race-worthy derivative of the 2017 NSX road car, utilising a 3.5 litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine.

“It was an arduous selection process, but we’re extraordinarily pleased with the dynamic and experienced driver lineup which will launch our 2017 Acura Motorsports program with the new NSX GT3,” said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development (HPD).

“We believe we’ve assembled a group of drivers who have the skill and experience to take the Acura NSX GT3 to Victory Circle, and who will proudly represent the performance DNA of the Acura brand for our many fans.”

Lally and Segal both raced in the GTD category last season, with silver-rated Lally driving a Magnus Racing Audi R8 and gold-rated Segal making endurance race appearances with the championship-winning Scuderia Corsa Ferrari squad.

Negri Jr, by contrast, was a full-season Prototype driver with Michael Shank’s team in 2016. The 2017 season will mark a new chapter for the 52 year old from Portugal, as he prepares to take part in his first GT programme since a one-off outing in the 2003 Grand Am series with a Porsche 996.

Completing the lineup is Legge, who made one guest appearance for Michael Shank Racing in the Prototype category last season.

The former Champ Car and IndyCar driver joins the Acura works project following a three year term driving the Panoz-run DeltaWing, which comes to the end of its racing tenure in 2017.

In addition to the GTD lineup, Acura also confirmed Ryan Eversley and Peter Kox for its single Pirelli World Challenge entry, which is being run next year by Real Time Racing.

The 2016 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship gets underway in January with the Rolex 24 at Daytona.