Mario Farnbacher said he was focused on keeping the No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 at bay in the closing laps of the Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, in order to consolidate his and Trent Hindman’s lead in the GT Daytona drivers’ standings.
The German recorded a runner-up finish in Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round, capitalizing on issues for the sister No. 14 AVS Autosport Lexus to stretch their lead to 19 points.
It marked the duo’s third podium finish of the season in the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 Evo.
Farnbacher admitted they had nothing for the class-winning Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 of Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley but knew he could make it a good points day following early race issues for the title-contending No. 14 Lexus of Jack Hawksworth.
“For sure we’re happy about the result,” Farnbacher told Sportscar365.
“We knew that the BMW was going to be super strong. They were untouchable today. Our plan was to stay in front of the Lexus’ and obviously we did that, so mission accomplished.
“It’s never easy, especially to the end with the red flag. Everybody got a little out of rhythm so it was hard to get back in there but I think we all managed pretty well.”
When asked if he had anything for Auberlen in the end, Farnbacher said he was more concerned about keeping the Lexus of Townsend Bell behind him.
“[The BMW] was way too strong,” he said. “I tried a little bit but as soon as I tried to push, the tires went down and I said no, I don’t want to attack any more because I have to stay in front of the Lexus.”
Farnbacher’s co-driver Hindman, who scored his first career WeatherTech Championship win last time out at Watkins Glen, admitted they didn’t expect to be “lighting the world on fire” at CTMP, particularly due to a Balance of Performance adjustment made to the Acura since last week’s IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup round.
“A lot of the updates done with this Evo kit on the NSX made us competitive at tracks where formerly we tended to struggle,” Hindman explained.
“Overall it was a good day. The team put us in the position to lead the championship by a decent margin now.
“At the end of the day we still need to be aggressive. There’s a reason we’re in this position of leading the championship.
“That’s been because we’ve been aggressive and chasing wins and that’s certainly not going to stop.”
“Disappointing” Incident for Hawksworth Leads to Championship Setback
Farnbacher and Hindman’s closest title rivals entering the weekend took a massive hit in their championship hopes following a collision at the end of the opening hour.
Hawksworth and the No 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Scott Hargrove made contact at Moss Corner on the Canadian driver’s out-lap, forcing the No. 14 Lexus to to go behind the wall for repairs to its steering rack and resulting in a 12th place class finish.
Hawksworth and co-driver Richard Heistand have now fallen to sixth in the GTD standings, 29 points behind MSR’s Farnbacher and Hindman.
“For us, it was disappointing because Richard did a good solid first stint,” he said. “We pitted at the 45-minute mark with the Porsche and were able to pass that car on the next lap. Then, I was able to pass the 57 Acura and I was in fifth behind Townsend.
“The 9 car then came out and I was obviously close to him and then he went off the circuit and as he rejoined, I guess he didn’t see me, but he came back on the track and we hit.
“It’s disappointing really because the performance was good. I’m sorry for the guys. They did a great job getting the car back together. We’ll try again at Lime Rock.”