Sebring, Fla. (16 March 2019) – The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring once again proved to be one of the toughest events on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule. The No. 57 Caterpillar Acura NSX GT3 Evo experienced highs and lows through a rapidly changing race with varying weather conditions and long green flag runs. A late race restart that saw the team come home eighth in the order on Saturday.
A third-row start allowed the No. 57 team of Katherine Legge, Christina Nielsen and Bia Figueiredo to stay out of trouble as Nielsen began the race in rainy conditions. Several class cars struggled in the difficult Florida weather.
As the track dried out Figueiredo took the wheel on a fresh pair of slicks during a Lap 52 pit stop. Dealing with intermediate track conditions as it switched from damp to dry, Figueiredo drove to a high of second before pitting to hand the controls over to Legge.
Legge’s two years of knowledge driving the Acura NSX GT3 for Meyer Shank Racing came alive on track, putting the No. 57 in the lead for 15 laps. Legge’s drive to the front came as part of an impressive final triple stint behind the wheel as she raced hard for over three hours.
Legge left it all on the track in an attempt to maintain the lead, but alternate pit and conservative fuel strategies did not yield the hoped-for results. She cycled back to fifth, and the team crossed the line eighth following a late caution.
Jackie Heinricher: “The Heinricher Racing team fought a great fight. Staying on the lead lap to climb up to P1 with Katherine Legge at the wheel was a great achievement. Katherine finished our car P8 after driving a three-hour-plus final stint. Christina Nielsen drove brilliantly at the race start and quickly put us in P3 in difficult rain conditions. Bia Figueiredo carried us though the mid-portion of the race to position us for a strong finish. We are disappointed in not getting on the podium but we are united in our resolve to win. We look forward to our next race.”
Mike Shank: “Sebring is just one of those races that we can’t seem to catch a break. Our car was dialed in and we were hooked up for a strong run. Katherine, Christina and Bia all drove great stints that kept us in contention. And I have to hand it to Katherine who drove just amazing at the end. We threw her in for a third stint and she drove hard until the very end. Our next race is at our home track at Mid-Ohio so hopefully we can put on a good show for the home crowd.”
Christina Nielsen: “I got my first taste of the Acura NSX in the rain at Daytona so it was nice to have that knowledge for the running we did in the rain at Sebring. I felt really comfortable today. We had a really strong car in the rain. I drove later in the afternoon and the car was really competitive. The testing that we did before this race really prepped us well but it was a tough race, with so many teams on it today.”
Bia Figueiredo: “That was amazing. It’s a very tricky track, very physical. I drove well, but with a mistake on my second stint at the end. I think the windshield was so dirty, I didn’t see that it had started raining again and I spun in Turn 1. Katherine was super fast at night, but we were hoping some of the other cars would need to pit again, and the restart didn’t help. But we showed that we are super strong, and we could have done something really nice here so let’s keep pushing.”