Daytona Beach, Fla. (25 January 2018) – After debuting the Acura NSX GT3 in IMSA WeatherTech competition in 2017 at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, MichaelShank Racing is building on the progress the team made last year as the squad prepares for the 2018 IMSA season with the incredible GTD class machines.
That development was on display on Thursday as the first official laps were clocked ahead of Saturday’s Rolex 24 at Daytona with a pair of practice sessions and qualifying.
After securing the fastest time in the second practice session and showing continued balance and consistency, Michael Shank Racing’s two-car lineup secured seventh and 17th for the start of the 24-hour endurance classic.
The No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 – piloted by Lawson Aschenbach, Justin Marks, Mario Farnbacher and Côme Ledogar – and the No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3– driven by Katherine Legge, Alvaro Parente, Trent Hindman and AJ Allmendinger – logged a combined total of 85 hot laps on track before embarking on the weekend’s qualifying run.
Parente put the No. 86 in a comfortable position ahead of qualifying after he topped the second practice session with a fast lap time of 1:46.790-second, three tenths ahead of second. As the 15-minute session commenced, Parente was set to qualify the No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 while Frenchman, Ledogar led the No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 into qualifying.
Parente posted consistent laps throughout the session as the balance of the Honda powered machine was on point, allowing him to place the No. 86 machine in seventh with a 1:47.251 lap time as heavy winds blanketed the track.
“We got the maximum out of the car balance-wise,” said Parente. “The lap maybe wasn’t as perfect as in practice, but I also think I was luckier with the winds to get that fast lap. I am happy with the balance of the car and I felt like I put a good lap together.”
After losing his hood in the early stages of the session, Ledogar persevered through the 15-minute run but made the most that he could with the lost aero advantage, resulting in a 17th place qualifying position and posting a 1:48.239 for the start of the Rolex 24.
“I think qualifying went well for what we had to deal with,” said Ledogar. “Obviously that (losing the hood) didn’t help us in that moment and I felt like I had more to give during the session. The balance felt pretty good and I think we are prepared for the race.”
Team owner Mike Shank, was pleased with the results and knows that a long race is ahead of the team’s two-car lineup.
“Everything is going according to plan so far this weekend,” said Shank. “We always want to be at the front but we also know this race and what it can throw at you. We will just focus on getting the car ready for the race and go from there. We have a very strong group across both cars and they can do very well.”
The 56th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona will go green Saturday at 2:40 PM ET with live coverage of the event beginning at 2:00 PM ET on FOX.