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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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