After a podium finish in the opening IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event of the season at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Michael Shank Racing are looking to carry the momentum from their result in Florida into this weekend’s second race of the season, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
The result from Daytona also gave Katherine Legge, Alvaro Parente, Trent Hindman and AJ Allmendinger the lead in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup standings, and the first three drivers pair up this weekend at Sebring looking for more positive results within the #86 Acura NSX GT3.
“I think any positive momentum is good heading into Sebring, and we tested well there and have a fantastic team behind us so we are very positive heading into the race weekend,” said Legge.
“Not too much will change for this race, it is obviously hard on equipment, but MSR have worked hard on the NSX durability and we will be aiming for the same goal as always – to win!”
Parente, who survived a scary-looking crash last weekend as he participated in the opening round of the Pirelli World Challenge around the streets of St. Petersburg, expects a tough twelve hours for the team but knows if they can keep to their plan and be smart in the traffic, they can be a force at the end of the race.
“For sure Sebring is a tough place and hard on both the car and drivers,” said Parente. “Traffic is hard to manage and especially working through Turn 1 and Turn 17.
“My mindset will be the same, which is to keep our heads down and work hard to find the best set-up for the track as we can. We have already been working on a lot of this at the test as well as being smart on every stint the best we can.
“As long as we sick to the plan, we will see if we can be there at the end in the position we want!”
Hindman says that nothing can be taken for granted, but believes the NSX GT3 should perform even better at Sebring than it did at Daytona, which should make the other teams in the GT Daytona class wary of their potential.
“The result achieved by the Michael Shank Racing team at the Rolex 24 was great but it is difficult to say how everything will come together at the 12 Hours of Sebring because, as a circuit, it’s so much different than Daytona,” said Hindman.
“Of course the momentum carried over from a 2nd place run at the 24 is significant, but if anything it’s more confidence inspiring just because we feel that the Acura NSX GT3 will perform even better at Sebring.”
Hindman knows that the twelve hour race will be far from easy, but they can take comfort in the way they performed at Daytona, and like his team-mates he feel they can be in with a chance of the victory this weekend.
“By no means is the Sebring 12 hour an easy race for anybody, but then again neither is the Rolex 24,” said Hindman. “Both are pretty gruelling in their own ways, but as long as us drivers and the MSR team perform the way we did at Daytona and minimize mistakes, I think we will have ourselves in good position at the end of 12 hours.
“Our NSX GT3 felt great in testing and we hope to capitalize on that for the race. Ultimately, we’ve got the best engineers/strategists in the business on our pit box and a phenomenal crew going over the wall as well. These guys were flawless at the Rolex 24 and we certainly need more of the same in order to bring home a win at the 12 Hours of Sebring.”