Impressive debut for Acura NSX GT-3 Daytona Rolex 24
No, I wasn’t up all night obsessively monitoring the progress of the Rolex 24. Competing teams rotate 4 drivers per car, on one hour intervals, there's just one driver on my team.
This years Rolex 24 was driven under mostly wet track conditions. It’s tough enough to run a 24-hour endurance race under blue sky. This year was a bit slower, and I’m sure, emotionally and physically draining for the drivers and their support teams. Nonetheless, Team Michael Shank Racing with some of the best Indycar, GT series racers in the business behind the wheel, ran a clean race, while dialing in an unknown. This was the first major track event for Acura NSX-GT.
The bottom line: Professional Motor Sports is a very expensive, team endeavor, full of what ifs, should haves, and could haves. While the sport may be funded through major corporate sponsorship, and enabled through the combined efforts of 'manufacturer meets private auto innovation and competitive drive,' at the end of the day, Auto Racing, and more specifically 24-hour endurance track racing, is no sure-bet. Pitfalls of the unknown is the norm in this game, the unknown variables are ego crushing, and bank-account draining -- it often comes down to the split second, lap-interval-time-gaining skill of the driver. Michael Shank Racing and Acura took a newly developed race car and excelled with it.
No, Acura didn’t win it. But…
More importantly, both cars finished the race without terminal mechanical breakdown. or race ending incident of contact. And, finished very respectably in the top 40%. Impressively, while dialing in this loose rear-wheel drive derivative of Acura’s second generation gasoline/electric 2017 NSX hybrid supercar, picked up +12 and +7 overall finish positions off the start. It’s not an easy transition from Indycar to IMSA GT. Read more about that here.
Note: The 93 car after recovering from a front wrap and hood loss, and then a soon to follow stall, managed to finish 11th in class and 29th overall. The #86 car fared a bit better with no problems, with a 5th place finish in Daytona GT class and 22nd in the overall race standings.
Cadillac takes the win, with Porsche, Audi and Mercedes dominating Daytona GT class
There you go, “racing is racing.” Watching NSX GT-3 dance at Daytona gives this Acura Racing fan hope for the 2017 IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge race season. Read final Daytona Rolex 24 race results here.