By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
In what was a part-time effort now turned full-time in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 of Katherine Legge and Alvaro Parente finished fourth in the GT Daytona class Saturday in the GT-only Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.
The Meyer-Shank Racing entry started 16th overall, four positions behind the GTD points leading Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers. Both of the MSR Acura NSX entries struggled in qualifying with the No. 93 team car qualifying in 15th in the 18 car field.
Legge started the race and stayed in sixth in the early portion but dropped to seventh on Lap 30. However, the NSX was able to stay out until Lap 47, getting Legge up to fourth before Parente took over for the rest of the race.
When it came time for the second round of pit stops for the two-stoppers, Parente was one of the first to come in for new tires and fuel and the strategy worked to a point with the Portuguese driver getting up to third place before Gunnar Jeannette in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 got ahead to third place with about six laps to go.
With the Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini winning the GTD class, Snow and Sellers extended their championship lead over Legge to ten points, 218 to 208. Considering how the NSXs were not a good car for the track, fourth was a good result for the duo.
“Our race didn’t go entirely as we’d hoped,” said Legge. “However, the team did a phenomenal job, and so did Alvaro at getting us track position. Fourth place at the end redeemed a weekend that wasn’t looking ideal for us. This is how you win championships, by getting solid points when you don’t have the fastest car on the track.”
The No. 86’s fastest lap was a full six tenths of a second slower than the fastest GTD lap set by the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 of Jack Hawksworth but Hawksworth’s team went for a three stop strategy and they finished fifth.
“We suffered a little bit too much at the end of the race but we never really had that last little bit of pace at any time,” said Parente. “When the tires were fresh, or in the middle, or at the end. It’s a shame we couldn’t hold off the Ferrari for third, but we’re fighting for points and today we didn’t have the car for a podium [finish]. Maybe next time will be different.”
The next IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship race is the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on the weekend of August 3rd through 5th.