Podium Finish for Acura, Lally & Legge at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park
7/9/2017 11:22:00 PM
- Andy Lally, Katherine Legge finish second in Canada
- Third consecutive podium finish for pair follows victories at Detroit and Watkins Glen
- Battle for season championship tightens with five races remaining
The Michael Shank Racing Acura duo of Andy Lally and Katherine Legge scored its third consecutive GTD podium result of the 2017 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season Sunday with a second-place finish at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. The result further tightens both the manufacturers' and drivers' championships, with Acura, Lally and Legge all gaining ground on the current championship leaders.
Starting sixth, Legge moved up to fifth on the opening lap of the two-hour, 40-minute contest around the fast, historic CTMP circuit. At the 50-minute mark, Legge completed her opening stint and pitted from third, handing over the #93 Acura NSX GT3 to co-driver Lally.
Segal, who qualified the #86 Acura third on Saturday, moved up to second following a quick first pit stop from the MSR team. During the second stint and through the halfway point in the contest, Segal continued to hold down second in GTD, with Lally fifth.
The first of two rain showers swept over the 2.5-mile CTMP circuit just after the third and final round of scheduled pit stops as Lally, staying in the #93 Acura for the final stint, jumped up to second in the order, while a driver change from Segal to co-driver Oswaldo "Ozz" Negri saw the #86 NSX GT3 running sixth.
As the rain increased in intensity, a full-course caution flag waved just prior to the two-hour mark as a prototype category car pulled off course with mechanical issues. While some teams elected to take the opportunity to pit for wet-weather tires, both MSR Acura's elected to stay on dry weather "slick" tires. For Lally, that proved to be the correct call, as the rain ended and the track quickly dried once the green flag waved with 37 minutes remaining. For Negri, however, traffic issues proved tougher and the #86 car lost track position.
Heavy rain returned to CTMP in the final minutes and the race ended under caution as a prototype crashed in Turn Three. Lally's #93 Acura took the checkers second in GTD, while Negri finished 10th in the GTD category in his #86 NSX GT3.
Today's second-place finish for Acura, Lally and Legge – following GTD class victories in Detroit last month and last week at Watkins Glen – moves Acura to within eight points of Ferrari in the GTD Manufacturers' Championship, and just seven points behind second-place Mercedes-Benz. Lally and Legge also are third in the drivers' championship, 24 points behind leading Ferrari drivers Alessandro Balzan and Christina Neilsen, and 16 points behind Mercedes-Benz drivers Ben Keating and Jereon Bleekemolen in second.
The Acura NSX GT3s compete in the GTD class of the WeatherTech series, campaigning against premium automotive brands including Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.
Developed from the production Acura NSX, the NSX GT3 utilizes the production NSX's ultra-rigid and lightweight multi-material body with aluminum-intensive space frame, which is produced at the Performance Manufacturing Center in Ohio, exclusive worldwide manufacturing facility for the NSX. The 3.5-liter racing engine uses the same design specifications as the production Acura NSX, including the block, heads, valve train, crankshaft, pistons and dry-sump lubrication system. A six-speed, sequential-shift racing gearbox delivers power to the rear wheels.
Video recaps from this weekend's Acura WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park are being posted on the "Honda Racing/HPD" YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found in the 2017 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.
The mid-summer run WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races continues in two weeks, as the series moves to another classic road course. Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., for the July 22 Northeast Grand Prix.
Andy Lally (Driver, Michael Shank Racing #93 Acura NSX GT3): "Our Acura handled every condition today, from hot and greasy, to cool, to wet, to super slippery conditions when nobody wanted to be out there on slicks. I'm just thrilled. The Michael Shank Racing crew did a great job and our Acura performed flawlessly for three races in a row. No one has scored more points than we have in the last three races. It's a good thing when you're disappointed with second [place]. It's good that we've risen to that level. The Acura is there, and we want to win at every track. That's a good place to be mid-season."
Jeff Segal (Driver, Michael Shank Racing #86 Acura NSX GT3): "We had a pretty strong weekend and we were happy to qualify well [third] yesterday. At the beginning of the race, I think we were in pretty good shape but, unfortunately, it just wasn't our day today. We'll keep working on it and come back stronger at Lime Rock."
Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's second-place finish and third consecutive IMSA podium finish for the Acura NSX GT3: "It was another great race weekend for Acura, our third consecutive podium finish. Just as at Detroit and Watkins Glen, it was another extremely hard-fought battle, with the added drama of the rain showers. In addition to another stellar performance from Andy Lally and Katherine Legge, it was gratifying to see our second NSX GT3 with Jeff Segal and Ozz Negri feature in qualifying and during the first half of today's race. The dedication and effort from everyone at Michael Shank Racing and our HPD associates is really paying off now. The rest of this season should be exciting for us all."
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