After six months away from the track, the Acura NSX GT3 squad of Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Racing is ready to strap back in for the 2020 season. The team will head back to Daytona International Speedway for the IMSA WeatherTech 240 on Saturday, July 4th (NBCSN 6:00pm ET).
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship kicked off with the annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, but at the time, no one knew the COVID-19 pandemic would halt all racing until July. Returning home to Portugal and Canada, respectively, during the break, Alvaro Parente and Misha Goikhberg will head back stateside for the IMSA restart this weekend. Both of the No. 57 drivers are looking for improved pace compared to what they had in the season opener.
"We are coming back to Daytona after the 24-hour race in January where we struggled quite a bit for pace," Parente said. "I’m certain the team is on it and I can’t wait to get back out there and have a good, competitive race weekend. Unfortunately, this big health crisis that we are living through is having a huge impact worldwide. I’ve really missed racing and hope we all come back from this stronger."
Parente’s days in Portugal have been nothing short of exciting as he welcomed his first son shortly before the Rolex 24.
"I’ve been spending a lot of time with my new son," he said. "I built a little gym here in my garage and used it a lot, especially during the first month and half of the quarantine. I’ve also been surfing quite a bit, fixing some stuff and building a few things in the baby’s room. I’ve enjoyed this extra time with my family. But I’m a racer. I can’t wait to get back in the Acura NSX. It’s been way too long."
Goikhberg, who made his debut in the GTD class in January, is ready to get started again at Daytona.
"It’s hard to describe in words the anticipation of being back in the race car after almost six months," Goikhberg said. "The 2020 season will be very different and now the pace of the championship will be very high for the rest of the year. I am sure myself, Alvaro and the entire crew are up for the challenge."
Just as excited to get back on the grid is team principal Jackie Heinricher, although she’s pleased IMSA waited until it could be done safely.
"As always, safety is paramount in racing," Heinricher said. "I’m so glad IMSA is continuing to focus on that as they bring us back to the track in a responsible manner for the safety of everyone involved. I know more fans really want to be here. They are the highlight of our weekends and we look forward to the time when they fill the race paddock once again. So, believe me, we’ll push to the max this weekend to give them the race they and our sponsors deserve and have been waiting for."
The IMSA WeatherTech 240 at Daytona is set to go green on Saturday, July 4th, at 6:00pm ET and will be broadcast live on NBCSN.