Elkhart Lake, Wisc. (5 August 2017) – Michael Shank Racing’s No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 will start the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase from the fourth row on Sunday after Ozz Negri qualified the car seventh on the grid. The event marks Round 9 of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Highlighting the competitive nature of the GTD category, Negri’s quick lap of 2:07.469-seconds in the chrome red liveried Acura machine was within hundredths of a top-five starting spot.
“Less than a tenth would have put me fifth and I’m pretty sure I had that,” said Negri, who shares the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 with Jeff Segal. “I locked up on my quick lap going into Turn 5. That’s how important the perfect lap is. We made good changes from the morning practice to the qualifying session and I felt comfortable with the car. I’m pretty sure we have a little bit more and we will debrief with our engineers. I’m happy with the car but I know there is more we can get out of our Acura NSX GT3. I’m very confident that we can make it quicker. It’s just a shame that it’s such a very small difference in lap time that cost us a few spots.”
The No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 sustained damage during Saturday morning’s practice session which saw the car of Andy Lally and Katherine Legge unable to qualify. The Michael Shank Racing crew has set to work to repair the No. 93 ahead of Sunday morning’s warm up session.
“I’m happy with how the car held up,” said Team Owner Mike Shank of the heavy impact. “We can rebuild. It’s just too bad. It’s racing and sometimes this happens. I’m sorry that we have to go through this with all of the guys, but this a track where we can definitely make up positions, like we have all year, in the pits. We can still hopefully have a top-five showing if all goes well. We’ll see.”
With the potential for rain in the forecast for Sunday’s race – the 2 hour, 40 minute race could play into the favor of the Michael Shank Racing team.
“We were doing mock qualifying run and the tires were just up to pressure I was on a decent first lap when I got on the gas on the curb and it shot me into the inside wall,” said Legge of the practice incident. “I’m just gutted. I feel bad for the guys because they have a lot of extra work now. I know these things happen and everyone on the team has been so amazing about it. It’s a testament to how strong the Acura NSX GT3 is. We’ll start at the back of the grid but with the rain, it may make it easier to overtake. Hopefully we can come away with a top-five – that’s the goal.”
Sunday will see a 20-minute warm up session at 8:30 AM CT (9:30 AM ET).
The team will host the Austin Hatcher Foundation auction at the Michael Shank Racing transporter at 11:15 AM Central Time with several items up for auction – including a right Rocker Panel, signed visors, and race-worn gloves and boots.
The Continental Tire Road Race Showcase goes green at 1:35 PM Central Time (2:35 PM ET) with LIVE coverage beginning on FS1 at 1:30 PM CT (2:30 PM ET).