Michael Shank Racing Readies Acura’s Sebring Effort

Michael Shank Racing Readies Acura’s Sebring Effort
• Acura NSX GT3s to tackle Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
• Endurance racing classic is tough on cars, drivers, team
• Acura leads GTD North American Endurance Championship after strong Rolex 24 run

SEBRING, Fla. (March 14, 2017) – Following a highly successful endurance sports-car racing debut in January at Daytona International Speedway, Michael Shank Racing returns to Florida with its pair of Acura NSX GT3s for the second endurance racing classic of the 2017 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

At Daytona, the MSR Acuras dominated the overnight hours and led 171 of 634 laps, prior to a best finish of fifth in the 27-car GTD field for the #86 Acura co-driven by Jeff Segal, Oswaldo “Ozz” Negri Jr., Tom Dyer and Ryan Hunter-Reay in the season-opening Rolex 24.

That finish, combined with the team’s class ranking at specified intervals during the 24-hour contest, secured the early season GTD lead for Acura, MSR and the #86 NSX GT3 in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Championship. The endurance championship is a series within the overall WeatherTech championship, which includes Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and the season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, the four longest races on the 2017 calendar.

Daytona marked the North American sports-car racing debut for the Acura NSX GT3, with the MSR team fielding a pair of cars for a stellar driving lineup which also included Andy Lally, Katherine Legge, Mark Wilkins and Graham Rahal in the #93 Acura.

“While we certainly are encouraged by the performance of the NSX GT3 at Daytona, the Sebring race brings an entire new set of challenges for everyone at Acura Motorsports and Michael Shank Racing,” said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development, which also oversees the Acura Motorsports effort. “We were pleased with the results of our recent test here, and we’re looking forward to an exciting, competitive GTD race this weekend.”

While only half as long as the season-opening Rolex 24, Sebring is considered by many to be an even tougher test of driver, car and team due to the rough, unforgiving nature of the circuit. Built on a former World War II Air Force training base, the 3.56-mile circuit still uses large portions of the rough concrete runways and taxiways that date to the 1940s, combined with 17 corners and the challenge of multi-class racing.

Competing in the GTD class of the sports car racing championship, the NSX GT3s race against premium automotive brands including Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. In all, there were 27 cars entered in the GTD field at Daytona, by far the largest of the four classes competing in the 24-hour endurance contest.

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.

The Acura NSX GT3 adds to a rich legacy of Acura sports car racing championships, including the 1991, 1992 and 1993 IMSA Camel Lights manufacturer and driver championships, and the 2009 American Le Mans Series manufacturer, driver and team championships in both the LMP1 and LMP2 classes.

The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring begins at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Saturday, March 18. Live television coverage on Fox Sports 1 runs from 2 – 11 p.m. EDT, with live coverage throughout the race available on the Fox Go App starting at 10:30 a.m.

Video recaps from this weekend’s Acura WeatherTech SportsCar Championship activities at Sebring will be posted on the “Honda Racing/HPD” YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found in the 2017 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.