Farnbacher Has Date with Favorite Car
Detroit May Be Takin’ It to the Streets
New German New Team in Michelin Pilot Challenge
By Mark Robinson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Mario Farnbacher will meet up with a cherished friend next week at VIRginia International Raceway. A car.
The two-time reigning GT Daytona (GTD) champion will race for his third Acura team in the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season when he joins Gradient Racing for the Michelin GT Challenge At VIR. While he’ll be driving the No. 66 Acura NSX GT3 Evo with Till Bechtolsheimer, it’s actually the same chassis that Farnbacher and Matt McMurry rode to the GTD title last year driving the No. 86 Acura for Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian.
Farnbacher is substituting for Marc Miller, who ruptured an Achilles tendon in a training incident this week. Miller is disappointed to miss the Oct. 8-9 VIR race weekend.
“We have made continual improvements this season and I have worked hard to be physically and mentally strong in the car, so this injury is beyond frustrating,” Miller said. “I will continue to help the team prepare for VIR. Till and I will do our usual pre-event track analysis and simulator work ahead of next week’s race.”
Farnbacher drove with Magnus with Archangel in the Rolex 24 At Daytona to open the 2021 season, then joined Compass Racing for seven races.
Michelin GT Challenge At VIR action begins with practice and qualifying on Friday, Oct. 8. The two-hour, 40-minute race airs live at noon ET Saturday, Oct. 9 on NBC.
Takin’ It Downtown, Detroit GP Eyes Move Back into City
The Detroit Grand Prix will take place on Belle Isle Park in 2022, but event officials are considering going back to their roots and returning the race weekend to the city’s downtown streets where the event began in 1982. Grand Prix officials released a statement this week that said, while an agreement is in place with the state of Michigan to hold the race through 2024 at Belle Isle, “we are exploring the option of returning the event to a downtown street circuit beginning in 2023.”
Detroit hosted a Formula One race on the city streets from 1982-1988. An IndyCar race was held downtown from 1989-1991 before the event moved to Belle Isle in 1992. IMSA first raced on the Belle Isle circuit in 2007 and has been a part of the grand prix annually since 2014, with the exception of the 2020 cancellation due to the global pandemic.
“An annual summertime racing festival on the streets of Detroit would represent a connection to the rich heritage of the grand prix, the opportunity to engage with broad audiences and provide an even greater boost to the local economy while adding to the energy and momentum that is building downtown and along our beautiful waterfront,” the statement from the grand prix continued. “As plans continue to develop, we look forward to providing an update on the exciting future of the Detroit Grand Prix.”
New German Performance to Make Michelin Pilot Challenge Debut
New German Performance will make its IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge debut in the Virginia Is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix at VIRginia International Raceway on Oct. 10. The No. 44 Audi RS3 LMS DSG will compete in the Touring Car (TCR) class and be driven by 2018 TCR champion Britt Casey Jr. and Tristan Herbert.
“We are tremendously excited to build on our recent successes as we enter the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge,” said team spokesperson Mike Humphrey. “After supporting the VW and Audi community for more than 20 years, including our customers’ efforts in motorsports, we are eager to take the knowledge we’ve amassed over that time and apply it to our own professional motorsports entry as an Audi Sport customer racing team.”
It will be a home race for the team based in Manassas, Virginia, and Herbert’s series debut. Casey has five career Michelin Pilot Challenge wins, including four in his championship season.
“While I have been working at IMSA race events as a crew member in the WeatherTech Championship this season, it is especially rewarding to get back in an IMSA race car at a track I love,” Casey said. “The Audi RS3 LMS has always been a rewarding car to drive at its limits, and I am looking forward to working as hard as possible with Tristan to maximize the results for such a hard-working and genuine group of racers at NGP.”