Double Top Ten for Michael Shank Racing at Sebring

Incredible team effort leads to strong run as both Acura NSX GT3 machines finish tough Sebring

Sebring, Fla. (17 March 2018) – After a whirlwind weekend for the Michael Shank Racing squad it seemed as though there wouldn’t be light at the end of the tunnel, but the hard-working crew never gave up.

Both the No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 and the No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 scored top-ten finishes at the 66th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts on Saturday.

After a significant off-track excursion on Thursday nearly debilitated the No. 93 to the point of n

o return, the Michael Shank Racing squad’s heroic dedication brought the Acura NSX machine back to life in less than 36 hours. Not only did the No. 93 make a full recovery, Lawson Aschenbach posted the fastest time of the session in Saturday morning’s warm up.

With the No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 piloted by Aschenbach, Justin Marks and Mario Farnbacher and the No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 driven by Katherine Legge, Alvaro Parente and Trent Hindman, the team was stacked for a solid result after 12 hours of racing.

Legge and Marks served as starting drivers and gave an excellent run in the early hours of the race, with Marks picking up 10 positions in the first hour and Legge leading the GTD field on Lap 14.

The pace was spot on for both Acura NSX GT3s with a combined 103 laps led and 212 combined laps spent in battling into the top three.

The team was well on its way to a podium finish until a series of incidents pushed both cars just outside of the top five. As Farnbacher and Parente brought home the No. 93 and No. 86 machines through the checkered, they had to settle with a seventh and eighth place result.

Despite a trying start to the weekend – rebuilding a car, starting last, and racing to a leading pace – the Michael Shank Racing crew showed the entire IMSA paddock that there is little limit to the amount of devotion and true passion the team has.

“The fight these guys put up today, I just couldn’t ask for more,” said Team Owner Mike Shank of his crew rebuilding the No. 93. “The result is a little disappointing because we ran so well but the cars were just beat to death at the end. All of the drivers did just wonderful, I couldn’t ask for any more from anybody. We will just take this result and roll on to Mid-Ohio.”

The third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will take Michael Shank Racing to home soil for the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Showdown, May 4th – 6th.

Driver Quotes:

Lawson Aschenbach, No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3: “I have to say hats off to everyone at Michael Shank Racing, Acura, Honda, HPD. To come back from that crash, make it to the race, have a flawless run with no issues, perform perfect pit stops, I am pleased with the result. Obviously, we are a little disappointed with the pace at the end and we have our work cut out for us. We will go back to the shop and think through this weekend because we have to work through the pace. All in all, I am really pleased with the weekend and where we came from and we will see what happens with the next race.”

Justin Marks, No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3: “Even though it’s not really the finish that we wanted today, the fact that we were even on the grid for this race is really a testament to how hard this team works. This car was completely destroyed on Thursday. They rebuilt it, and worked all night to get it on the grid. It had pretty good pace, I think there were some weaknesses to overcome in the long runs. Seventh place points isn’t terrible and we will regroup for the next one. We have some time to find more speed before we get to Mid-Ohio.”

Mario Farnbacher, No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3: “I’m not really sure what happened at the end there, but the car just fell off and I couldn’t really do much to save it. This car shouldn’t have even been on the grid, but the team worked so hard to get it here. We had good pace in the beginning of the race, I’m just disappointed that I couldn’t give the team a better result at the end.”

Katherine Legge, No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3: “We had a really great weekend and we had the pace to run up front. My first stint went really well and we were holding the car in the top three which was promising. Both Alvaro (Parente) and Trent (Hindman) did a great job and kept the car in podium contention, but unfortunately the car just got away from us at the end there. The next race for us will be Watkins Glen and hopefully we can continue to work on the car and get a good result next round.”

Alvaro Parente, No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3: “The end of the race really didn’t go as I had hoped. I wish I could have given it some more for the team because they worked so hard all weekend. We were running so great for the entire race, and to have it fall off at the end was disappointing. But the Michael Shank Racing guys gave us a great car and we had great pit stops so I have to thank them for their effort.”

Trent Hindman, No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3: “Some of these guys out here were setting some super quick laps, including my co-drivers and my teammates. The Michael Shank Racing crew gave us a great NSX GT3 all weekend long. It’s a shame with all of the yellows, I think that’s what really caught us out. Our car is phenomenal in clean air but as soon as we get in that dirty air we tend to struggle for bite. This was my first 12 Hours of Sebring and it was just an honor to be a part of it with such a great team and I certainly learned a lot and I hope I can come back in the future and have a shot at another one.”

HINDMAN: The Ups and Downs of Sebring

I think those of you who read these debriefs probably have an idea by now that I can ramble on for quite a long time… Normally, it’s all in an effort to give a behind the scenes look at how success was achieved on a given weekend.

This time, which might be the first, I’m actually left pretty speechless.

Going into a race weekend, I’ll generally have a pretty solid idea of how it will go. However, last week I was torn.

One side of me was saying that it was going to be a successful week, and the other side could not visualize or foresee a desired race result being achieved. That had me somewhat worried.

Following a very encouraging test in February with the VOLT Racing Mustang GT4 as well as the Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3, I was pretty confident that we were going to hit the ground running in both GS and GTD.

I’ve been to the Twelve Hours of Sebring in some form since my first ever Skip Barber National Series event here in 2011. The last three years I’ve watched from the sidelines, wishing I was in the show. Luckily that has since changed.

We had a very, very strong two days of testing here with the VOLT Racing Mustang and that immediately showed in Practice 1 Thursday morning when we ran below the previous GS lap record and three-quarters of a second quicker than anybody else at a 2:11.5.

Not that winning practice is anything to be proud of, but it certainly gave us the confidence moving forward that we had a good, consistent car and hopefully a shot at victory on Friday.

For the rest of the day we focused on our speed over the long runs in the hot, greasy track conditions as well as getting Alan [Brynjolfsson] acclimated to the car and track.

He’s proved to be very good at Sebring and it was my job to make sure he could take advantage of the pace he had going into the race.

Despite our speed in practice, I still was unsure of how we would ultimately run come race day. I know the entire team was confident in the speed of the car and in themselves when it would be time to go over the wall and service the car, but I just wanted to get to through that first stop in one piece and go from there.

Unfortunately, the race unraveled in pretty dramatic fashion on Lap 5. While having a very strong run in the top ten, Alan muttered the words “broken half shaft” on the radio coming out of turn 7. That was it.

I knew our shot at capitalizing on our speed and bringing home a win was gone and I just couldn’t believe it.

The VOLT Racing crew managed to get the car back to the paddock and got to work on replacing both half shafts, but, despite their phenomenal effort, our day was done.

I was fortunate enough to have another opportunity to race during the weekend. I’m even more fortunate that it would be in one of the most difficult yet prestigious endurance races in the world.

Following the disappointment that was our CTSC race on Friday afternoon, I knew I had to immediately get over it and focus on the next task at hand, which would be an attempt at winning the 12 Hours of Sebring with the MSR team.

Michael Shank Racing’s run in the Twelve Hours of Sebring was nothing short of eventful either, with our sister car, the 93, ending up hard into the T13 barrier during Thursday practice.

Luckily Justin [Marks] was ok, but watching the MSR crew pull together to A) not only support the 86 in our efforts to develop a potential race-winning car, but also B) essentially re-clip the entire front end of the 93 in about 36 hours time was pretty unreal.

Alvaro [Parente], Katherine [Legge], and I, along with our teammates in the 93, ran up towards the pointy end of the GTD pack until about Hour 11, when the final full course yellow packed the field together and we slipped back to P8.

Our NSX GT3 was strong for the entire day but not quite strong enough to push forward in heavy traffic, and in a field as competitive as GTD, that’s a death sentence.

Still, with all of that said, I was honored to simply be a member of such a great team and actually be in contention for a class victory in my first ever 12 Hours of Sebring. Hopefully we’ll have more opportunities to get it done in the future.

And that’s that. A pretty bittersweet ending to what was shaping up to be a successful weekend in terms of final race results, but unfortunately it was not to be.

Massive thanks to Alan and the VOLT Racing team, Mike [Shank] and the MSR crew, as well as my friends at Trim-Tex for making all of this happen. The goddess of motorsport can be a real cruel bitch at times, but it’s nothing that will deter me from coming back and trying again.

Michael Shank Racing Roar Wrap

Daytona Beach, Fla. (7 January 2018) – Michael Shank Racing continued to make progress this weekend in preparation for its two-car campaign in the 56th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona at the end of the month with three productive days of testing at Daytona International Speedway.

The team is competing with the Acura NSX GT3 in its second season of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition, and debuted an all-new driver line up at the Roar Before the 24. Eight drivers took to the Florida circuit to work on developing the team chemistry and speed that will be required to win the twice around the clock classic.

The No. 93 entry driven by Lawson Aschenbach, Justin Marks, Mario Farnbacher and Côme Ledogar showed continued improvement as they rotated through the six sessions, with the entry setting the fastest time of the day on Saturdaywith a 1:47.425-seconds lap of the 3.56-mile circuit.

The No. 86 Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup entry driven by Katherine Legge, Alvaro Parente, Trent Hindman and AJ Allmendinger completed nearly 150 laps before taking to the track for Sunday’s qualifying.

To create an added bit of interest for race fans, IMSA established a 15-minute qualifying session to establish garage positions and pit locations for the Rolex 24 following the six practice sessions.

Parente, who took the No. 83 Acura NSX GT3 for his first ever IMSA WeatherTech qualifying run, set the 4th fastest lap time with a 1:47.605-seconds lap.

“I feel like this is a good start and we have had some really nice test days in preparation for the 24,” said Parente. “All of the guys have been doing well and we have all been having a lot of fun. We will continue to keep working to make improvements. The main thing is getting the car as stable and quick as possible for the race.”

After a strong two days of testing, Aschenbach clocked the 12th quickest time with a 1:47.905 in the No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3.

“We lost the balance a little bit from the first session, so that wasn’t really the time I think we were capable of today,” said Aschenbach. “The car just never really came to us like it had been the rest of the weekend. The Acura NSX GT3 is still pretty quick and Alvaro (Parente) put down a really good lap in for fourth. Now we will just need to look at data and see where things changed, and we will be fine for the race, I’m not too worried.”

Team Owner Mike Shank was happy to return for a second season with the Acura NSX GT3 as the team was able to start off the year with a strong knowledge base of the car.

“Everything has improved so much from last year at this time,” said Shank. “We have made huge gains with the car and I am very happy with it. Qualifying was pretty much where we thought we would be for right now so we are fairly pleased. The 93 car didn’t handle exactly how we thought it would but Alvaro (Parente) did a great job in the 86 and got us a good spot as far as where we will be set up for the 24. I feel very good about where we are and how much progress we’ve made.”

The team will return to Daytona International Speedway January 25-28 for the 56th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Michael Shank Racing Adds Trent Hindman and Côme Ledogar to Rolex 24 Lineup

Ledogar joins No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 as Hindman signed for No. 86 Acura NSX GT3

Pataskala, Ohio (18 December 2017) – Signing a young up and coming American talent along with one that has already seen success on the international stage, Michael Shank Racing has finalized its driver roster for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener at Daytona.

Côme Ledogar will combine with Lawson Aschenbach, Justin Marks and Mario Farnbacher in the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 for the 2018 Rolex 24 At Daytona, while young Trent Hindman has joined the team to partner with Alvaro Parente, Katherine Legge and AJ Allmendinger in the No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3.

Ledogar, who will be making his IMSA racing debut at the Rolex, first forged his name in one-make competition, scoring the 2014 French Carrera Cup Championship with six wins and six pole positions. The Frenchman built on that success with an additional two championships in 2016, clinching the Blancpain Endurance Series and Porsche Carrera Cup Italia.

With a 2017 that included a run to the podium in the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour event, Ledogar will look to get his 2018 racing season off to a fast start with Michael Shank Racing.

“I am really excited to be joining Michael Shank Racing,” said Ledogar. “Driving with MSR means a new challenge for me but with a very experienced team with one of the best reputations in the paddock. I think the Acura NSX GT3 will suit me well since it is a brand new mid-engine car; which is the same set up that I have been driving the previous two years.”

At only 22-years old, Hindman’s career has blossomed with a breakout year in 2017.  The New Jersey native scored victories in Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competition, clinched the Lamborghini Super Trofeo (LST) North American Championship as well as scored a major Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Final win at Imola. He also impressed in his triple-duty weekend at VIRginia International Raceway, racing in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, winning the LST race, and securing a podium finish in his first-ever IMSA WeatherTech GTD race outing.

With the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup (TPNAEC) in his sights, Hindman will race the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 in the Rolex 24 as well as the Sebring 12 Hour, Sahlen’s Six Hour, and the Petit Le Mans.

“Michael Shank Racing is one of the elite teams in IMSA so it was an honor to be presented with this opportunity,” said Hindman. “Running with Mike (Shank) and the Acura NSX GT3 is really a chance that I think all drivers in general, not just younger guys like myself, would immediately jump into without any hesitation. I want to thank Mike, the entire MSR team, and Honda Performance Development for their faith in me as a driver and I certainly hope to deliver for them.”

Not only is Hindman looking to provide the team with results throughout the TPNAEC season, but he will also look to lessons learned from the many years of experience that the team has racked up.

“MSR is a team that’s got a fantastic history of helping young drivers recognize their full potential,” said Hindman. “I certainly want to take full advantage of that quality as well as hopefully being able to provide as much knowledge and experience as I possibly can in order to make the most of this program. I think it’s also very important to enjoy this opportunity as much as possible, as not many drivers get a shot like this.”

With the stacked lineup finalized, Michael Shank Racing is eager to set the pace for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, where the stable of eight drivers will challenge for a victory. The Rolex 24 At Daytona kicks off on January 26th.

Driver Lineup

Lawson Aschenbach No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3

Justin Marks No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 

Mario Farnbacher No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 

Côme Ledogar No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 

Alvaro Parente No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 

Katherine Legge No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 

Trent Hindman No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3

AJ Allmendinger No. 86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 

HINDMAN: Monterey Debrief

Trent-Hindman-Laguna-Seca-CTSCCIt was back to reality this weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, as riding the dream wave that was VIR finally crashed and settled back down again.

With that said, it was still shaping up to be quite the busy one, as the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge was also joined by Lamborghini Super Trofeo for the fifth time this year and the final time on U.S. soil.

I’ve really enjoyed these double header events, but what I failed to recall when making my final preparations was the fact that this CTSC race would be our second four-hour endurance event of the season.

This was great news to me; more testing time, longer runs, and the opportunity for Cameron Cassels and me to achieve a result that matched the opening four hour race event of the year in Daytona.

This event was also much more crucial now since this was the last opportunity for Cam and me to keep ourselves in the GS title fight, as we had a less than stellar summer full of poor luck.

The plan for the entire weekend involved me qualifying and starting the four-hour race, Cameron in for the middle stint, and then I would get back in at the end.

Judging by the amount of time behind the safety car at Daytona this year, we figured that at least a few laps under yellow were possible, but nothing we could really count on.

Our strategy revolved mostly around long runs and green flag stops, and that’s the direction we went with the car during testing and official practice.

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is a track renown for the legendary corkscrew and scenery, but one thing often overlooked is the nature of the racing surface itself.

It’s dirty, fairly bumpy, but above all else, it is rough. Rough on cars and so rough on tires that after only a few laps on new tires it’s about as grippy as driving in the snow. It’s an extraordinarily tough place to predict conditions at any given time of day since the track reacts so much to even the slightest change in ambient temperature.

Engineers have their work cut out for them just listening to whiney drivers, and drivers have their work cut out for them just keeping the damn car on the road!

It’s all very challenging, in a good way, but it does force you to sacrifice performance of the car in some areas in order to have that speed in others. In our case at Bodymotion Racing, we were solely focused on longevity over the long haul.

Finishing P6 in qualifying was a tough pill to swallow but at the end of the day it was necessary to stay focused on what we had worked towards in practice. As long as we had long periods of green flag running, we were good.

My first stint in the car went exactly to plan as we were able to move up a few positions on the start and find ourselves in a comfortable gap, away from any drama.

I was a bit worried because we flat-out just did not have the speed to keep up with the leaders or defend from any attack from behind. My hope at this point was that the track would come to us as conditions deteriorated throughout the race.

Luckily, it did to an extent, but being ultra assertive in traffic was the only way that we would be able to make up ground while also holding other cars at bay.

The final stint of the race was plagued by time behind the safety car and that’s absolutely what we did not need.

Constantly bunching the field back up made for some real chaos at each restart and the term “cautions breed cautions” could not have been more true, especially with lapped traffic in between the leaders on the restarts.

Fortunately for us, the final sprint to the finish was uninterrupted and we were able to finish P2 and grab our first podium since COTA in May… a long time coming.

Normally I hate finishing second more than anything else because we all know that as second place, you’re the first loser. This time I wasn’t so PO’ed.

This was really more than the maximum possible result for the Bodymotion Racing team and it’s exactly what we needed at such a crucial moment in the GS championship race.

We did not have nearly the outright speed of our direct competition but what we had was a killer strategy, great pit stops, and just an overall smart race that allowed us to take advantage of mistakes made by others.

Cameron and I now head to Road Atlanta sixteen points out of the championship, making it a must-win situation for us, but anything is possible around that track.

In between all of the madness that came with GS, I was glad to be back with the Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing team this weekend in Lamborghini Super Trofeo competition.

Facing similar challenges in Super Trofeo as we did with the GS car, it was crucial to make the car perform with minimal degradation at the end of a flat out 50 minute sprint race.

We achieved our fifth pole position of the year for Race 1 and had an almost perfect race going, leading every lap aside from the only one that truly matters.

Brake failure for Riccardo going into Turn 1 on the final lap was a real heartbreaking moment after such a good race up to that point. It is what it is.

Race 2 was my turn to finish and this time we only were able to bring home a P2. Riccardo, the Prestige Performance/WTR team, and I are only two points away from locking up the Super Trofeo North America Pro Championship, which is most important.

All focus is now on getting prepped for the Super Trofeo North America and World final event in Imola, Italy at the end of November.

As always, a very big thank you to all who made this possible; Cameron, Riccardo, Bodymotion Racing, Trim-Tex, Prestige Performance, Lamborghini Paramus, and Wayne Taylor Racing.

Petit Le Mans is only a week away, so it’s an incredibly hectic turn around for teams and drivers. I can’t wait to get there, not only to compete for and hopefully finish the GS championship on top, but also because I have an awesome opportunity to run the 20th Anniversary Motul Petit Le Mans.

Hopefully the next debrief from me will be a good one!

TRENT HINDMAN TO JOIN PAUL MILLER RACING ENDURANCE LINEUP AT PETIT LE MANS

Trent-Hindman-Paul-Miller-Racelite-DesignsPARSIPPANY, N.J., (September 18, 2017) – With just two races remaining in the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Trent Hindman will join Paul Miller Racing for the season finale event, Petit Le Mans. The 2014 Continental Tire Sports Car Championship title winner will join drivers Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow in the No. 48 TOTAL Lubricants/UIS Lamborghini Huracán GT3 for the ten hour endurance race in Braselton, Georgia.

“We’re thrilled to have Trent join us for Petit Le Mans,” said Team Owner Paul Miller, “He’s shown tremendous skill in the support series, and strong promise in his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut last month. He’ll be a positive addition to our team, and together with Bryan and Madison, we’ll be strong contenders for the top spot on the podium.”

The nearly 22 year old New Jersey native began his racing career at the age of eight in go-karts, winning his first national karting championship in 2008. The following year, he followed in the footsteps of legends, competing in the Skip Barber Racing School Southern Series, where he stayed though until the end of the 2011 season. As a MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver, he joined the USF2000 series in the Mazda Road to Indy, earning two podium finishes and finishing fifth in the final championship standings. In 2013, he transitioned to touring cars, and a year later joined IMSA in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. He clinched the 2014 championship for Fall-Line Motorsports, and made his international sports car debut in 2015 at the 24 Hours of Zolder on a BMW Motorsport Junior team. In 2016, the young American was crowned the Blancpain Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America Pro-Am champion with Prestige Performance with Wayne Taylor Racing.

Hindman’s first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race came earlier this year at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the Prototype Challenge class. His IMSA GTD debut came last month when he was called last minute to step in to drive a Mercedes AMG at VIR International Raceway.

“These last few weeks have seen the fulfillment of a lot of long time goals of mine,” said Hindman. “There’s nothing I can do but thank Mr. Miller and the entire Paul Miller Racing team for giving me one hell of an opportunity here to run Petit Le Mans. I’m excited for this not only because it’s an awesome chance to run a world renowned endurance race, but also the possibility to work with a team that has been so strong for the entire 2017 Weathertech Championship and comes into the final race of the season with a great shot at bringing home a victory.

“I am very much looking forward to working with both Bryan and Madison as I’ve known both of these guys for quite some time now and have seen the successes they have shared together, and I certainly hope to fit into that dynamic the best I possibly can. Thank you Mr. Miller, Bryan, and Madison, along with Chris Ward and Giorgio Sanna for making this possible!”

Petit Le Mans will take place at Road Atlanta, October 4-7. The ten hour endurance event will decide the champions of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Season.

HINDMAN: Road America Debrief

Trent-Hindman-Road-America-2017The name “Dr. Jacques Dallaire” has become synonymous with motor racing paddocks all across North America, or really the world for that matter.

If you know Dr. Dallaire or have ever attended any of his seminars, one of the opening lines of his presentation that you probably heard was “A x B = Results”, with the “B factors” consisting of those things that are not in your control. All very interesting stuff.

Unfortunately for Cameron Cassels and me, this past weekend at Road America was almost entirely comprised of those “B factors.”

The weather prediction called for rain this weekend, but the sheer amount of it was something not seen very often.

Our entire test day on Thursday was a complete wash out. We didn’t even get on track once due to the terrible conditions, but all teams still made the effort to unload and set up in the pouring rain.

If being a mechanic in a professional race series wasn’t difficult enough, setting up an awning in the cold rain just to be slightly more protected from the elements did not make things any easier. These people are hardcore dedicated to what they do, I have huge respect for what they put up with.

Friday turned out to be better… marginally. The rain was constant and extremely heavy at times.

I think I can count on one hand the amount of laps Cameron and I completed on the whole day, and half of those were used just trying to bed brakes!

Our thoughts were to take as little risk as possible and wait for Saturday morning’s short practice/qualifying to dial in our Porsche GT4, as constant running in the rain will eventually break a race car in some way or another. Not necessary to take that risk before race day.

Since generally at Bodymotion Racing we do our homework before each event, we usually arrive with a car that is pretty well sorted right from the start. Since everybody was in the same boat (no pun intended) in terms of limited track time and terrible weather conditions, confidence was high going into qualifying and our two hour race Saturday evening.

With roughly an hour to go in the race, Cameron brought the car in after a good fight between him and few other drivers for P6 and P7.

As per usual, the Bodymotion team gave us a super quick pit stop while I got behind the wheel, and we were on our way.

My total stint was comprised of about 30-40 seconds of racing. I got from pit lane to Turn 5 and that was it, the full course caution came out and then the red flag followed.

The storm that was the ultimate cause of the race stoppage was pretty strong but blew through the area quickly. There was some talk to me from our pit box that we could potentially see the race restart. All I was looking for was a 25-30 minute shootout with all cars on wet tires, fighting for the win. This is exactly my idea of a good time.

As we know, that did not happen and the race was abandoned. Not sure of the exact reason why we could not get it going again, but it is what it is.

This is about the most significant “B factor” that I have ever encountered just purely because of the poor timing and the fact that the decision to stop the race has now costed Cameron Cassels, the Bodymotion team, and me our championship lead, where we now find ourselves trailing by four points going into the final three races.

We have battled through a lot of horrible luck this year and we will continue to do so. VIR, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and Road Atlanta are three solid racetracks for the Cayman GT4, so we will take every risk necessary in order to retake, what I feel, is rightfully ours.

I am in a position where I have absolutely zero right to complain about a lack of seat time this weekend as Road America was the first time in just over a month where I got to climb back behind the wheel of the Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo.

With a similar testing and practice scenario to what we had encountered with the GS car, we showed up to pre-grid for qualifying totally blind as to what the track would be like in the dry conditions.

Fortunately, it appeared that we had rolled off the truck well, as I was able to qualify on the pole for race one, and Riccardo was on the outside of the front row for Race 2.

After some minor adjustments to the car following our qualifying effort, we were able to pull out a clean sweep of both Super Trofeo races this weekend, as well as take the Pro championship lead.

A dream weekend in Super Trofeo but not so ideal for Bodymotion Racing in the Continental Tire Challenge is just the way this sport works.

A big thank you to Cam, Trim-Tex, and all our our Bodymotion Racing crew members for powering through this one and maintaining focus.

I also have to thank the Prestige Performance and Wayne Taylor Racing team for giving Riccardo and me one hell of a race car this weekend.

VIR will have a similar schedule between the CTSC and Super Trofeo, just hopefully with some more testing time and a clear forecast. See you all in two weeks.

TRENT HINDMAN’S WILD WEEKEND AT VIR: COUNTING DOWN THE NUMBERS

Trent-Hindman-VIR-Debrief trent-hindman-mercedes-virThrough an interesting turn of events, Trent Hindman found himself racing in three different series and three different race cars this past weekend at VIRginia International Raceway. Looking back, Hindman shares his mindset, the results, and how the weekend became a dream come true.

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Hindman went to VIR expecting to compete in three races- two Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America sprint races, as well as the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Biscuitville Grand Prix.

That plan changed early Friday morning.

Immediately following the first Continental Tire Challenge practice, and while heading to debrief with his Prestige Performance team for Lamborghini Super Trofeo, Hindman received a text from Travis Houge. Houge is the general team manager for Wayne Taylor Racing, which provides support to Prestige Performance, and the message said he needed to meet with Hindman immediately.

“I met up with Travis in the paddock and he just told me to start walking with him,” Hindman said. “I was a little bit surprised like, ‘Okay, where are we going? What are we doing?’”

Houge and Hindman walked over to Riley Motorsports’ transporter in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship paddock and on the way, Houge explained that Ben Keating, full-time co-driver of the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Team-AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Jeroen Bleekemolen, may have to return home to Texas. Keating’s home and numerous car dealerships were in the path of Hurricane Harvey.

“They asked me if I would be able to manage three championships in a weekend and I immediately said ‘Yes’ without even thinking about it,” Hindman said. “Once I was walking away, it started hitting me like, ‘How the hell am I going to effectively do a good job for everybody and maintain the championship positions that everybody is in?’ To have a situation like this, with a total unknown factor, to essentially not screw it up, that was definitely a little bit of pressure.”

A few hours later, Keating was officially headed home to Texas and the 21-year-old was tabbed to take his place in the WeatherTech Championship Michelin GT Challenge on Sunday.

“Obviously, I was thrilled I was getting the opportunity, but it’s also unfortunate the circumstance for Ben and everybody based in southeastern Texas,” Hindman said. “I think I speak for many people that everybody outside of that area is certainly thinking of those affected by the storm.”

3

Managing three championships in three days is a feat by itself, but what Hindman did – landing on the podium three times in four races – was remarkable.

Hindman scored both poles ahead of the two Lamborghini Super Trofeo races in the No. 1 Lamborghini Huracán LP620-2 with co-driver Riccardo Agostini and took the first victory on Saturday in the Pro class, while overcoming a punctured tire to place second in Sunday morning’s race.

“Riccardo and I and the whole Prestige Performance Wayne Taylor Racing team were carrying a lot of momentum from a very good weekend at Road America, so we wanted to carry that into VIR obviously,” said Hindman. “We learned a lot about our car at Road America and we finally felt – at least from the perspective of myself, our engineer David Wagner and Riccardo – we’re all clicking now and making some really good progress and all on the same page. The car has been getting better and better. We’re just keeping our heads down for the most part.”

It was in the Biscuitville Grand Prix, however, that Hindman faced his biggest challenge of the weekend. Sharing the No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 with Cameron Cassels, the team entered the weekend for the first time not in the championship lead of the Grand Sport (GS) class.

Cassels qualified the car in ninth and the team ran in the top 10 before a full-course caution came out immediately after the team’s pit stop and driver change. Radio issues kept the team from communicating with Hindman about their strategy, and the car wound up a lap down. The team finished 12th and currently sits 20 points out of the GS championship lead that they once held two races ago.

“It’s out of anybody’s control really,” Hindman said. “For whatever reason, it wasn’t in the Big Man’s plans for us to have a good result and we’ll move on. It’d really take a lot of bad luck on (our competitors’) part and us winning the next two races to get ourselves back in position to win the championship. It feels like we’ve been kicked in the gut.”

For his last race of the weekend, the Michelin GT Challenge, Hindman was prepared to make his first GT Daytona (GTD) start in a Mercedes-AMG GT3. Practice time allowed Hindman to meet the team, adjust to the new car and rehearse driver changes ahead of his second career WeatherTech Championship start.

Bleekemolen qualified the car fourth and the team steadily ran up front to bring home a third-place result. That podium was the best finish for the No. 33 team since winning the Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown at Circuit of The Americas in May.

“They had a very structured, very organized program and chain of command to where a driver like me could just come in, be briefed, be given a couple handbooks on the 27 different buttons and controls on the center console alone,” Hindman explained. “It was just phenomenal, almost surreal in a sense that everything was happening so quick and something like this had presented itself last minute.”

2

The three podium finishes weren’t the only thing Hindman had to celebrate once the weekend was over. His performances had helped solidify championship leads in two different series.

In Lamborghini Super Trofeo, Hindman and Agostini entered VIR with a six-point lead. After the weekend, the Prestige Performance team expanded that margin to 11 points heading to the final two races of 2017.

In the incredibly diverse GTD class, Hindman and Bleekemolen’s third-place finish boosted Mercedes-AMG back into the top spot of the manufacturer championship standings. The German manufacturer leads eight other manufacturers, with the closest being Ferrari just one point behind with two races remaining.

“I think I was literally working off coffee for three days to keep myself going, but that’s what a guy like me lives for,” Hindman said. “That’s what we want to be doing. I’m just lucky that Ben, Bill (Riley), Wayne and Travis were able to come together and recommend me to fill the role. I hope I executed that in a fashion which they found acceptable.”

1

VIR was one dream weekend for the New Jersey native.

“For me to sit here and say ‘Oh, it was so tough running back and forth…’” Hindman joked. “Yeah, it’s so tough running back and forth between a Lamborghini, a Porsche and a Mercedes-AMG. Life is good. Life is really good. It’s something that a guy like me dreams about doing.”

HINDMAN: VIR Debrief

Trent-Hindman-VIR-DebriefWhile making travel arrangements weeks in advance before an IMSA event, I always plan on staying for the main show of the weekend, the WeatherTech Championship, in order to kiss babies, shake hands, and make hay while the sun is still shining.

At the end of the day “out of sight, out of mind” could not be more true in the world of motorsport.

If you’re a driver like me looking to take the next step forward in their career, it is necessary to attend and find a way to be actively involved in those big races even though you may not be competing in them.

The dream of every driver, on the outside looking in, is to one day get that last-second call up to drive in the WeatherTech Championship, and I was fortunate enough for that dream to become a reality this weekend at VIR.

First thing’s first though; this was already shaping up to be a busy weekend for me between the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and Lamborghini Super Trofeo.

Being within reach of winning both championships made for a bit more added pressure, especially after falling to second position in the GS championship standings following a very bizarre race at Road America two weeks ago.

I cannot say that I focus on one championship over the other, really it’s a game where one must try and find a way to balance the two.

I’m lucky in the sense that I have the tremendous opportunity to work with great teams and co-drivers across the board. They’re really the ones who make it possible for me to plug-in and go.

Generally Thursday’s promoter test days (when we have the opportunity to run them) are the busiest, and to me, the most vital.

Showing up to official practice and qualifying with an already strong car underneath you is everything. Starting on the back-foot rarely ends well for anybody, and when championships are on the line, desperation ensues.

At Bodymotion Racing, we had a strong start to our Thursday afternoon testing but it soon turned to head scratching, as we knew we had a pretty critical suspension issue with our car, leaving Cameron with almost no laps.

Friday was really the day that my whole weekend got “flipped-turned upside down” in the words of Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff… all for the good though.

The Bodymotion Racing crew had figured out what had happened to our car and got it resolved quickly before our mid-morning CTSC official Practice 1. Their efforts were not in vain, as we quickly set a good string of laps that put us ahead of our competitors for the remainder of the session.

The main job now was to get Cam behind the wheel and acclimated to a track that he had been looking forward to driving since the end of our race weekend last year.

Super Trofeo, on the other hand, was looking very strong as our engineer David Wagener, Riccardo, and myself were really firing on all cylinders this weekend. We made some significant changes to our car during testing on Thursday and the gamble had paid off. Now all focus could be set on Riccardo learning the very difficult VIR circuit.

Somewhere in between all of this, I had missed a few texts from our Wayne Taylor Racing team manager, Travis Houge, urging me to contact him or Wayne immediately.

My mind immediately shifted to “Oh God, they’re getting rid of me” mode when suddenly I met up with Travis at the WTR tent and he promptly told me to start walking. He gave me a quick brief on why he and Wayne needed to get in touch with me, and to be honest I really couldn’t believe it.

Next thing I know, I find myself in front of a panel made up of Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, and Bill Riley… almost felt like an episode of Shark Tank!

This was really the first time I had ever met and spoken to any of them. I was shocked to hear of Ben’s situation and potential decision to leave the track, although understandable, because Hurricane Harvey had not yet made landfall in Texas.

Basically, if Ben were to head home in anticipation of the impending storm, he needed a replacement and I was recommended to be fit for the job. I was floored, but hope I didn’t show it too much!

About an hour later I was notified by Bill that Ben had unfortunately headed home and I was to be at the Riley Motorsports trailer by 3:30 p.m. to prepare and be briefed on the general controls of the car for a 4 p.m. practice session. Game on.

There honestly was not any time to think about how to manage my focus when running in three separate, somewhat high pressure situations, which I think helped in hindsight.

My first laps in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 went off without a hitch and again, I was blessed to be given the opportunity to work with such a great team of people at Riley Motorsports.

It was clear that my job this weekend was to not set lap records. Rather, it was to keep the car on the road, pointed straight, and give it to Jeroen without a scratch. If we went fast in the process, then awesome, but that was not the main focus.

Things seemed to calm down on Saturday and Sunday, as schedules were a bit more spaced out now. Saturday morning started off strong with another WeatherTech practice session, followed by Super Trofeo qualifying, where Riccardo and I were able to pull off pole position for both races! Awesome effort by the Prestige Performance team.

Later on that afternoon was arguably the most important race of the weekend, our two-hour long CTSC race, where Bodymotion Racing, Cam, and I would have the opportunity to get ourselves back up in the lead of the GS championship.

Cam had qualified P9 on Friday evening but he, as always, made up positions during his stint and handed me the car in a fantastic position. Really I believe it was his best race-drive yet.

This is where things started deteriorating, as we had a developing communication problem between the pit-box and the No. 12 car towards the end of Cam’s stint.

That issue continued to develop to the point where under the first full course yellow of the race, being unaware of our track position and having no communication with our pit-box, we had failed to take advantage of the lap down wave-by procedure and essentially went one lap down without even knowing it.

That was it, for the rest of the race we tried playing catch up but it was to no avail.

We would finish a dismal P12 after having such high hopes. We are now 20 points out of the championship lead with two races remaining. It is still possible and we will still sure as hell try to win it, but it will be a tall order.

With no time to dwell on the continued run of horrid luck we have seen with the No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman, it was straight back to the Super Trofeo race on Saturday evening and Race Two on Sunday morning.

Again, the Prestige Performance/WTR team, Riccardo, and myself had very high hopes following our qualifying performance. Race 1 was off to a good start, but a pit lane speeding penalty had earned us a drive-through penalty just before our pit stop and driver change.

We had a sizable gap prior to pitting, so taking the drive through and pushing like hell for 20 minutes made for a more exciting situation than I believe any of us really wanted. I had caught up to the leaders with roughly two laps remaining, was informed of a situation where the leading car had a penalty, and was wisely advised to think about the championship.

That’s exactly what we did, and following post race time penalties, we were awarded the overall and Pro class win.

Race 2 was my turn to start and we got a solid initial start, but then heading down to turn three it was clear that I had a left rear tire starting to go down.

Finally the cornering load of turn three shredded the thing apart. That was tough, since now we had no chance at a win and had to still push hard and try to minimize the damage done to our Pro class championship lead.

Riccardo and I battled hard for 50 minutes and ended up P2 in class, P6 overall. Not bad for almost going a full lap down after lap one.

Again, no time to dwell on what could have been, so it was full steam ahead on how to properly execute what Bill Riley, Ben, and Jeroen needed me to do behind the wheel of the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GTD class of the WeatherTech Championship.

Jeroen would be starting a solid P4, I would hop in for a full fuel stint right in the middle, and then Jeroen would bring the thing home for the final stint. Pretty straightforward.

Physically, I was fine. Mentally, I was exhausted. This was a weekend where I had really experienced the highs and lows of motorsport all within 36 hours, and I was running off pure adrenaline and coffee, lots and lots of coffee.

But again, no time to worry about it now as it was show time for arguably the best opportunity of my entire racing career. I wanted to and needed to deliver for Jeroen, for Bill, but most importantly, for Ben Keating.

The two hour and 40-minute race came and went just like that. My stint wasn’t flawless by any means, but I felt that I had completed my job to the best of my abilities and had done exactly what I was asked to do.

When Jeroen crossed the line in P3 at the end, I damn near cried; I could not believe it. We were on the podium in my first ever IMSA Weathertech GTD race but most importantly, I was relieved that it had all went according to plan.

This has seriously been the most incredible last few days of the 21 years I have spent on planet Earth.

Maybe it goes to show how much I really don’t do outside of the motorsport world? I don’t know. All I do know is that I have some of the greatest groups of people I have ever met supporting me and my dream.

Thank you to Cameron Cassels, Bodymotion Racing, Trim-Tex Drywall Products, Wayne Taylor, Wayne Taylor Racing, Prestige Performance, Riccardo Agostini, Bill Riley, Riley Motorsports, Jeroen Bleekmolen, and Ben Keating.

Just want to mention that my thoughts and prayers are with all who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. Mother Nature shows no mercy at times.

It’s been a hell of a ride, but now I need a beer and some sleep! Until next time…

Strategy Move by Bodymotion Racing Results in Top-Five Finish and Gain in GS Points Lead

Trent-Hindman-Limerock-Park-CTSCC-2017
LAKEVILLE, Conn., July 23 – Bodymotion Racing unofficially retained its point lead in the Grand Sport (GS) class and even increased it by one marker by using some unusual strategy to finish fifth in the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge Series race Saturday at Lime Rock Park. The Ocean Township, N.J.-based team’s entry in the Street Tuner (ST) class also finished fifth in its class in the two-hour contest at the 1.53-mile, seven-turn road course about 100 miles north of New York City.
The strategic move was a change in the driver order for the team’s GS car, the No. 12 Porsche Cayman GT4 sponsored by Bodymotion, Delaware Investments and Trim Tex . Usually Cameron Cassels of Coldstream, British Columbia, Canada starts the car and then turns it over to his  experienced teammate Trent Hindman of Wayside, N.J. This time the team opted for Hindman to start the race, go as far as possible on one set of Continental tires while conserving fuel, and then turn the car over to Cassels with hopefully little to no damage incurred. If Hindman could set the fastest lap of the race in the process when his tires were freshest, it would also be beneficial because that’s worth an extra point.
The whole team delivered. The starting driver must qualify, and Hindman won the pole with a time of 55.388 (99.443 miles per hour). He set the fastest lap of the race on lap seven with a 55.745 (98.807 mph), and he led the first 42 laps of the race despite having to avoid several lapped cars that spun or crashed in front of him.
The Camaro that eventually won made a pit stop earlier and was able to pass Hindman on lap 43 with fresher tires, but Hindman was back in front for four more laps before he finally pitted on lap 68 for his one and only pit stop. In addition to saving fuel and his tires during his 1:07 stint on a track that was getting more slippery every lap, he also turned the car over to Cassels with no damage for the final push. The pit stop was fast, Cassels set very competitive lap times and successfully avoided any crashes too, and the team’s reward was its fifth top-five finish of the season to date. When adding in the time during qualifying, Hindman’s stint and the pit stop, the team stretched one set of Continental tires for approximately one hour and 20 minutes of competition.
Unofficially Hindman and Cassels now hold a five-point lead in the GS point standings, 167 to 162.
Post-race quotes follow:
Trent Hindman, co-driver, No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman GT4:
(During race): “At the end of the day, I couldn’t have done it without these Bodymotion guys, who gave me a great car in qualifying yesterday. And today we carried that into the first stint. I honestly had no idea what was going to happen. It was definitely tough. That’s the longest I’ve ever run a set of Continental Tires. That was an hour and 20 minutes between qualifying and the race. Very impressive. We’ll see what happens.”
(Post-race): “I lost track of how many [ST cars he was preparing to lap] had problems in front of me. That was chaos to be honest with you. Once we got rolling again after that caution, I honestly had no idea where we were on the track or what was going on. I just tried to save fuel, save tires, and tried to keep it in one piece for Cameron, but that was absolutely chaos.
“I’m actually relatively pleased that we decided to go with this strategy, because I think if anything else would have happened during that first stint, we would have ended up off the track with some sort of damage on the car. I’m just happy that I was able to avoid all that.
“We went about an hour and 20 minutes with one set of tires. It wasn’t the easiest in the world. Kudos to Continental for coming up with a tire that can withstand that sort of punishment, but it’s still tough on tires. It’s impressive, but it was absolutely not easy. I was hanging on. When I got out of the car I was pretty drained. You’re trying to extract every bit of speed out of it. Mentally you know you have to save fuel, work through traffic, and at the same time not chuck the car off the road, which I almost did a couple of times.
“At the end of the day I don’t think the race would have gone as well for us as it ultimately did without the good pit work of the Bodymotion guys, the guys giving us a great car for qualifying, and without the good driving by Cameron in the last 45 minutes.”
Cameron Cassels, co-driver, No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman GT4:
“It was the first time this season we’ve done this [had Trent start the race]. Our mad scientist of an engineer, Mark Manning, wanted to do this. I love the guy; it was a brilliant call. I’ve never finished the race, and we wanted to shake it up a bit. I got to play with a different group of guys. It was a lot of fun. I was sliding all over the place. I hope to do another one of these where I get to close out the race.
“I actually made a mistake; I thought the 68 and the 69 were a lap down so I conserved the pace, but they were for position. But it was fun.”
Mike Bavaro, team owner:
“It was a great day points wise. I hate to say that because we’re here to race, but this late in the season to be able to come here and gain a point advantage, I would not have guessed. Maintaining was our whole goal.
“We thought we’d get eighth place if we started these drivers the other way. But I have to hand it to my staff. They sat down and figured out on paper that we could finish fifth or sixth if we started the drivers the other way around, and they made the right call.
“The stops were dead on. The ST stop was 35 seconds, which is unbelievable. And 45 seconds for the GS car because it needed more fuel. But everybody did their jobs. It was a real good high-five for them. Everybody did a great job. It was fun today. We go to Road America next.”
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