For a long period, it looked as though the #93 Michael Shank Racing Acura would pull off a miracle result as it held the lead of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, but the final few hours saw the car fade to finish seventh at the chequered flag.
During Thursday’s second practice session, Justin Marks crashed the car and created a lot of work for the mechanics to do before it was able to resume on track, with the Acura NSX GT3 only reappearing again during Saturday mornings warm-up session at the Sebring International Raceway.
However, Lawson Aschenbach put the car fastest in that warm-up session, showing just how strong the Acura was in Sebring, and although he was disappointed the team were not able to finish the job, he was full of praise for the team for even getting the car on the grid following Thursdays crash.
“I have to say hats off to everyone at Michael Shank Racing, Acura, Honda, HPD,” said Aschenbach. “To come back from that crash, make it to the race, have a flawless run with no issues, perform perfect pit stops, I am pleased with the result.
“Obviously, we are a little disappointed with the pace at the end and we have our work cut out for us. We will go back to the shop and think through this weekend because we have to work through the pace.
“All in all, I am really pleased with the weekend and where we came from and we will see what happens with the next race.”
Marks was equally full of praise for the way the team rebounded from the crash to come from the back of the GT Daytona class to hit the front, and he feels that with more practice they would have eliminated some of the weaknesses that appeared during the race.
“Even though it’s not really the finish that we wanted today, the fact that we were even on the grid for this race is really a testament to how hard this team works,” said Marks. “This car was completely destroyed on Thursday. They rebuilt it, and worked all night to get it on the grid.
“It had pretty good pace, I think there were some weaknesses to overcome in the long runs. Seventh place points isn’t terrible and we will regroup for the next one. We have some time to find more speed before we get to Mid-Ohio.”
The teams third driver, Mario Farnbacher, admitted the car was fortunate to even be on the grid on Saturday, but he could do nothing about the pace drop off in the closing stages that ultimately meant they finished thirty-five seconds back from the class victory.
“I’m not really sure what happened at the end there, but the car just fell off and I couldn’t really do much to save it,” said Farnbacher. “This car shouldn’t have even been on the grid, but the team worked so hard to get it here.
“We had good pace in the beginning of the race, I’m just disappointed that I couldn’t give the team a better result at the end.”
Team owner Michael Shank said they could not have asked anything more of his team, both on and off the track, and they can take many positives from the race away from the track to build on in the future.
“The fight these guys put up today, I just couldn’t ask for more,” said Shank. “The result is a little disappointing because we ran so well but the cars were just beat to death at the end.
“All of the drivers did just wonderful, I couldn’t ask for any more from anybody. We will just take this result and roll on to Mid-Ohio.”