Upon taking the green flag at the Motul Petit Le Mans on Saturday, Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) drivers Trent Hindman and Mario Farnbacher have claimed the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD Class title in the No. 86 AutoNation Acura NSX GT3.
Coming into the race weekend with a 32-point lead in the GTD Driver and Team Championship standings, Hindman and Farnbacher secured their first sports car championship by starting the race. The championship is also the first for Meyer Shank Racing which moved to sports car racing in 2004 and began its INDYCAR program in 2017.
MSR became the factory Acura team in 2017, debuting the Acura NSX GT3 in North American competition and developing the all-new platform into a race winner in short order. The team will look to secure the Manufacturer’s championship for Acura at the end of the 10-hour endurance classic.
“Getting this championship means so much to every single person on this team,” said Mike Shank. “Last year we lost the GTD championship by just one point. Since then we put our heads down, and did what we needed to do to be on top this year. Our goal was the have a better performance in the meat of the season so that we wouldn’t have to worry about Petit, and we did just that. I can’t thank my entire crew and Trent, Mario and Justin for a great year.”
The past three race seasons have seen MSR earn five race wins, five pole positions and 17 podium finishes onboard the Acura NSX GT3. In GTD competition the team has completed 11,575 race laps and covered over 36,500 race miles.
2019 marks Hindman’s first year competing full time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship after joining MSR as endurance driver in 2018. Hindman claimed all three pole position this season at Sebring, Watkins Glen and Lime Rock Park.
Teammate Farnbacher has been been an IMSA regular and the 2019 title marks his first-ever overall IMSA class championship. In 2017 Farnbacher clinched the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup (IMEC) title and will be aiming for his second IMEC championship title at the end of the Motul Petit Le Mans for MSR.
Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) drivers, Trent Hindman, Mario Farnbacher and Justin Marks co-drove the No. 86 AutoNation Acura NSX GT3 for the 22nd annual Motul Petit Le Mans on Saturday. Looking to seal the IMSA Manufacturer Championship for Acura, the entry ran in podium contention for 46 laps and spent 128 laps in the top five before debris punctured the radiator and forced the team to retire five hours ahead of the checkered flag.
Despite the team’s early race finish, the No. 86 AutoNation Acura NSX GT3 was crowned IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD champion after taking the green flag.
“This is such a special day for us as a team and for Acura. We all have worked for the last three years for this championship. Losing the GTD championship by one point last year was really frustrating but we came back and had one focus in mind. Trent and Mario did just a tremendous job all season long. Justin was a huge asset for us during the endurance races as well and I couldn’t be happier.”
“Winning the driver and team championship for Mike (Shank), for this team and for Acura is a huge accomplishment. The main goal was to not only shoot for a win today, but to also get Acura the Manufacturer’s championship. The IMSA championship is a championship that I have been trying to get in for so long now. It’s been a full five years since I won the Michelin Pilot Challenge Championship and I think that time has prepared us for this moment. This is certainly the highlight of my career and it’s just such an honor to be a part of such a phenomenal team.
“Before I even started racing I was watching the MSR car in GRAND-AM competition, so to be racing for Mike Shank is an awesome experience. For a guy like me, to drive with Mike and achieve his first championship with him is really special.”
“It’s definitely a really cool feeling and I am so proud of this team. It’s pretty cool that I had my first race in America at Road Atlanta and now to win the championship here is pretty special. The trust that Michael Shank, Honda and Acura have put in me is an amazing feeling. Mike always wants 100% out of us every time we race and to be able to do that for him and give him this championship is such an accomplishment. I couldn’t have asked for better teammates this year and I will remember this championship forever.”
“I’m really proud of the effort this weekend. What we originally thought might be a mechanical issue turned out to be a rock that went through the radiator. So essentially we had no mechanical issues with the Acura at any point during the season which is a testament to this team, Acura and HPD. I don’t think there is a team I’d want to be with more. Trent and Mario proved that the they were the ones to beat this year. It’s disappointing with how today went but you’ll have that in racing.”