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HINDMAN: Dropping the Hammer

Trent Hindman checks into Sportscar365 following his championship-winning season in GTD…

Photo: Brian Cleary/IMSA

It still hasn’t sunk in yet. Over three weeks later, I’m still finding it hard to believe that the 2019 season is already behind us and, on top of it all, produced a championship winning effort.

In the immediate moment after walking off the stage to accept our trophies, there was kind of an awkward silence since neither Mario or I knew what to say to one another.

How do you describe not only a season, but the culmination of years and years of hard work by so many people in one sentence?

I didn’t have the answer. So, partially joking but mostly serious, I turned to Mario and blurted “How the hell did a couple of idiots like us pull this off?”

Well, with three weeks to think about the answer to my own question, it’s pretty obvious.

WE, as in Mario, Justin, AJ, and me, we’re just the lucky ones who got to strap ourselves into an exquisitely prepared rocket ship. This championship was won by the incredibly talented team of people around us.

For this most recent edition of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, GTD seemed to be extraordinarily volatile.

If you closely followed along with our season, the second half of our year was a much tougher scrap than the first for various reasons.

Photo: Scott LePage/IMSA

For example, Petit Le Mans was shaping up to be a great day for us. Running inside the top three cars for the better part of five hours until, almost exactly mid-way into the race, we ended up with a punctured radiator, overheated engine, and a DNF.

Thank God taking the green was our only obligation of the day in order to wrap up the driver’s and team’s championships, as it would’ve been an insurmountable level of heartbreak if it were to happen any other way.

This was a lot to take in for my first full season in GTD, but nonetheless an excellent education and a reminder of how important it is to be surrounded by people who are better than you.

The entire Meyer Shank Racing crew, the team at Acura Motorsports and Honda Performance Development, and of course Mike, are all the real reasons behind the success.

To be a member of the team that brought Mike his first ever championship, as well as the first for the Acura NSX GT3 Evo, creates a special bond between everyone that worked towards this achievement.

Photo: Brian Cleary/MSR

The post-title celebration was short, as it was off to Las Vegas for the SRO season finale and the final race of the year with Alan Brynjolfsson and Park Place Motorsports to try and score some much needed points for the 2019 Porsche Cup.

Alan’s got a shot at being the first American in 12 years to claim the top spot of privateer Porsche drivers worldwide.

This has been a year long pursuit and one that we anxiously await the final results of, but the efforts put forth by a first year Park Place Motorsports/VOLT GT4 team is nothing short of exceptional.

It’s already been well covered that the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX Evo will feature a new driver line-up for 2020. I want to wish Matt and Mario the best of luck together in that car.

Despite my limited encounters with Matt, I get the impression that he’s a great guy for the job and will fit in well with Mario and the MSR team.

What’s next for me is still something of an unknown quantity. I will say that I’m extremely fortunate to have developed close relationships with folks I’ve worked with, both past and present, and they have all been incredibly helpful in finding and planning for the next opportunity.

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Mike, for one, has been awesome with his guidance towards what I need to do to secure a future in this sport and his advice has not been taken lightly. I look forward to being able to share what’s coming for me in the near future.

“Sleep when you’re dead” reigns true here, since post championship festivities have long been over, so now it’s right back to work.

Whether that be in a car, back in the gym, or scheming a plan for 2020, the motorsport world moves too quickly to stay stagnant for more than a few days.

Many thanks again to my teams, both Meyer Shank Racing and Park Place Motorsports, Mike, Alan, Mario, all of our supporters at VOLT Lighting, Trim-Tex, Sirius XM, Autonation, Acura, HPD, and of course all you guys for following along with our amazing season.

Trent Hindman (@TrentHindman) is the 2019 IMSA GT Daytona class champion, driving for Racers Edge Motorsports in GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, Meyer Shank Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Archangel Motorsports in Michelin Pilot Challenge.

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