Acura Motorsports announced on Tuesday that the Michael Shank Racing (MSR) and Real Time Racing will field impressive and experienced driver line-ups in the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and SCCA Pirelli World Challenge.
The MSR full-season drivers running the IMSA circuit will include Andy Lally, Katherine Legge, Oswaldo Negri, Jr., and Jeff Segal. The full-year RealTime lineup in the Pirelli World Challenge includes the returning Ryan Eversley and Peter Kox. Each team will field a pair of new Acura NSX GT3 race cars. The NSX GT3 will make its race debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in January.
PR Newswire stated in its report that Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development said "It was an arduous selection process, but we're extraordinarily pleased with the dynamic and experienced driver lineup which will launch our 2017 Acura Motorsports program with the new NSX GT3," he also said that "We believe we've assembled a group of drivers who have the skill and experience to take the Acura NSX GT3 to Victory Circle, and who will proudly represent the performance DNA of the Acura brand for our many fans." The Acura display is located at booth 24877, in the Central Hall.
SCCA Pirelli World Challenge
Eversley, a native of Georgia and 33 years old, is returning for his third season with RealTime Racing and Acura. He has recorded three Pirelli World Challenge GT race victories while driving an Acura TLX GT for RealTime from 2015-16, including a race weekend sweep of the two PWC GT events at Road America in June. Eversley has been a multiple race winner driving a variety of Honda Civic Si's in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, according to Top Speed.
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Lally, a native of New York and a three-time Grand-Am class champion, he won Rookie of the Year honors in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition in 2011. Lally has a history of more than 30 career sports car racing victories, he is also a five-time class winner of the Rolex 24, he recently won GTD at 2016 Daytona International Speedway.
Negri, 52 year old and a native of Brazil has anchored the MSR driver lineup since 2004 when he joined the team, scoring podium finishes each season and five career victories, including the 2012 Rolex 24 and the 2016 season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, which secured the North American Endurance Championship manufacturers' title for Honda.
Legge, 36 years old, is the first woman to lead the Rolex 24 overall, in 2016, and also the first woman to lead an American Le Mans Series Race, at Road America in 2013. Legge is a two-time Indianapolis 500 starter, most recently driving at The Brickyard for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in 2013.
Segal, 31, was the youngest champion in Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge history in 2006. Segal a Miami-based driver has a dozen North American sports car class victories to his credit, winning the Grand-Am GT championship title in both 2010 and 2012. He was part of the winning GTD driver lineup at the 2014 Rolex 24 and in GTE-Am at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Michael Shank Racing have been operating for the past two seasons as a customer team fielding a Honda-powered Ligier chassis in IMSA's prototype division, MSR has been a consistent front-runner in the headline category of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with two race wins and four podium finishes this season. The Columbus, the Ohio-based operation will run a pair of Acura NSX GT3s in the GTD class of the endurance racing series.
Kox, a Dutch 52 years old, joined the Acura Motorsports effort earlier this year as test and development driver for the NSX GT3. He has a long history with various European Honda Racing programs, 3 years in the British and European Touring Car championships from 1998-2000 and a previous class winner at Le Mans, in 2003. Kox was part of the winning lineup at the 24 Hours of Brno in the Czech Republic earlier this month.
RealTime Racing will be challenging the Pirelli World Challenge, switching to the new NSX GT3 from the Acura TLX GT, which the Wisconsin-based team drove to three victories during the past two seasons. RealTime has a long history of success in racing a wide range of Acura and Honda products, with 88 World Challenge race victories and 14 championships since 1993.
Standard Features Of The Acura NSX GT3
The Acura NSX GT3 racecar features a custom bodywork and aero components including a rear wing, underbody diffuser and enlarged hood vents for efficient engine cooling. The NSX GT3 utilizes the production NSX's ultra-rigid and lightweight multi-material body with aluminum-intensive space frame, It is powered by a 3.5-liter, 75-degree, twin-turbocharged DOHC V-6 engine pared with 6-speed, sequential-shift racing gearbox, delivering power to the rear wheels. It was built at the Performance Manufacturing Center in Ohio, the exclusive worldwide manufacturing facility for the NSX. The Acura NSX GT3 will add to a rich legacy of Acura sports car racing campaigns and championships.