Defending champions regain championship lead
Monterey, Calif. (1 November 2020) – Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry claimed their second IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory for Meyer Shank Racing at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday.
The victory is a cherished one for McMurry and Farnbacher who have faced adversity in the recent IMSA rounds which bumped them down the championship order. The victory on Sunday now puts Farnbacher and McMurry in the provisional championship lead with a seven point advantage (256-249).
The win also marks Meyer Shank Racing’s third double podium with the sister No. 57 Acura finishing third. The first double podium for MSR was in 2012 at Daytona International Speedway and the second in Detroit in 2017 as MSR claimed a 1-2 finish with the Acura NSX GT3.
It was a flag-to-flag win for Meyer Shank Racing which saw McMurry put the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 on pole earlier on Sunday as the young American racer led the entirety of his stint before handing the controls over to Farnbacher. The duo combined to put the No. 86 Acura out front for 103 laps of the 108 lap race.
Leading the GTD class field to the green flag, McMurry got a jump on the start and kept the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 stable through the opening lap to maintain the lead. The main focus of McMurry’s starting stint was to take care of the tires as WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is a track that is notorious for tire degradation.
McMurry pulled away from the second place running car, ultimately building a six second advantage. Prior to handing the Acura off to Farnbacher on Lap 29, McMurry reported that the tires were wearing but that it was manageable.
Another flawless transition in pit lane saw the team perform a full service stop to get Farnbacher back out in the fray and back in the lead. Farnbacher quickly began to pull away but same-class lap traffic slowed down his charge and ultimately closed the gap to P2 to just 1-second. But once Farnbacher made the pass and broke away, there was no looking back as he immediately created a six second gap and drove the No. 86 Acura to its second victory of the 2020 IMSA season.
The IMSA season will finish off at Sebring International Raceway on Nov. 14 for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
“That was just an incredible race all around. We knew coming into this weekend that we needed to finish in the front to still be in the championship fight and that’s exactly what both of our cars did. Both Matt and Mario drove a great race – they managed the tires perfectly – we really couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. We now lead the championship by seven points which puts us in a much better position going into Sebring, but we still need to pull off a result to claim the championship.”
“That’s exactly what we needed. Last year, we had such a hard race here and in a million years I wouldn’t have thought our Acura would perform as well as it did today. I really have to thank Matt, because being on the pole here is at least 80% of the effort, because it’s all about track position, and our engineer, because he made a masterpiece out of the car. He did a day-and-night change overnight and it improved everything – tire wear, pace, overall pace. I’m so incredibly happy that we’re back in the lead of the championship because that’s the important part going into the last race. Bringing home the championship, especially in the last year of the car, means everything. “
“It feels so good to not have some kind of mess in our race! It was a clean race, and the car was awesome. We struggled in the beginning of the weekend but the team made some very good changes and the car was pretty much perfect. It helped a ton in managing tire wear, which made it easy to pull a gap and hold it for the whole stint – and I handed it off to Mario who was able to do the same thing. Now we’re in a good position for Sebring.”