Acura NSX GT3 program manager Lee Niffenegger said that he’s expecting additional customer teams for the remainder of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season beyond the already-confirmed Magnus with Archangel entry.
The defending GTD manufacturers’ champion was present in last weekend’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona with a single Acura NSX GT3 Evo for Magnus, which finished 11th in class.
Sportscar365 understands that both Compass Racing and RealTime Racing could add to Acura’s customer lineup alongside the return of Gradient Racing for the WeatherTech Sprint Cup races, although Niffenegger declined to comment on specifics of any possible new teams to the Acura family.
“Certainly we expect to have Gradient Racing return and hopefully some other programs will come together,” he told Sportscar365.
“We’d like to have more full-season entries but we’re happy to be working with a new team [in Magnus].
“We know we’ll at least see Gradient Racing for sure and hopefully some of these other programs will come together that we’re working with.”
Gradient, which operated SunEnergy1 Racing’s effort that finished second in GTD in the Rolex 24, is expected to again contest the sprint races starting with the third round of the overall season at Mid-Ohio in May.
“Gradient is for sure Sprint Cup and from what we’re hearing, there’s potentially another Sprint Cup program that’s still trying to come together and potentially some extra cars for the remaining Endurance Cup races,” Niffenegger added.
HPD GT3 Academy Drivers Graduates Set for SRO America Drives
Drivers from the first season of HPD’s GT3 Driver Academy are set to be featured in customer teams’ programs in SRO America competition this year, according to Niffenegger, showcasing the program’s initial success.
Taylor Hagler, Jacob Abel, Dakota Dickerson and Karl Wittmer took part in the GT3 Academy last year, with sessions at Road Atlanta, Mid-Ohio, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and at Sebring.
While not structured as a ‘shootout-style’ program, Niffenegger said he’s been pleased with the off-season developments.
“There will be some of our graduates involved with programs in SRO,” he said. “It’s not for me to announce.
“We didn’t necessarily know at the end of last year — which wasn’t that long ago — that it was going to work out that way but there’s enough of a push and interest.”
Niffenegger confirmed the GT3 Academy will continue for a second season, with Racers Edge Motorsports again providing operational support. Dates have been secured and is slated to kick off in April.
Two new academy drivers are already signed up, with “lots of interest” for the remaining seats.
Niffenegger said he expects to start the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS season with two NSX GT3 Evos with the potential of a third entry later in the year, meanwhile.