Mario Farnbacher predicts the battle for the GT Daytona class championship will come down to the final lap of the season-ending Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, with this weekend’s Charlotte Roval sprint race adding to further uncertainty.
The German and Meyer Shank Racing co-driver Matt McMurry saw their 12-point lead reduced to just three over AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Aaron Telitz in last month’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio when Farnbacher sustained tire damage after multiple hits from another GTD car.
While still “a bit mad” on the outcome of the incident between he and the No. 76 Compass Racing McLaren 720S GT3 of Paul Holton, who was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, Farnbacher is looking to put behind the disappointment and continue his focus on earning back-to-back GTD titles.
“It was not my fault but it was very unfortunate we were in that situation,” Farnbacher told Sportscar365 of the incident with Holton.
“For sure it hurt us points-wise because I think — at a minimum — we could have finished third, if not fourth, but we would have collected more points.
“I’m a bit mad about this but it was out of my hands and we tried to achieve the maximum., which we did.”
Saturday’s 100-minute race on the Charlotte Roval could prove to be one of the most unpredictable of the season, even with the majority of teams, including MSR and AVS Autosport, having tested there last month.
“It’s not an easy track, you can say that. It’s very technical, very tricky in another way,” Farnbacher explained.
“For race conditions, it’s going to be super tricky, in my opinion.
“A lot of people had little accidents in the test. I think it’s going to be a very exciting short race.”
Farnbacher said the strength of their Acura NSX GT3 Evo has typically comes on tracks that utilize Michelin’s Pilot Sport GT S9M hard tire, which could play into their benefit this weekend.
“In the end it comes down to different tracks,” he said. “Some tracks the Acura functions a little better and at other tracks, other [cars]. Plus the tire situation, as we have two different compounds.
“It seems like us and the Lexus don’t function very well with the soft tire. We function better with the harder tire.
“We will see. You never give up. It will probably come down to the last lap at Sebring. It will be for sure be a really cool challenge but I would not necessarily say it’s been big pressure.
“There’s always pressure there to keep you fired up. I’m looking forward to the competition.”
Farnbacher’s Future Unknown Amid MSR’s Move to DPi
The 28-year-old is hoping to have news on his future in the coming weeks, with MSR set to leave the GTD class at the end of the year.
While being a Honda Performance Development-contracted driver, Farnbacher admits that customer teams are needed in order for him to keep racing the NSX GT3 Evo in the WeatherTech Championship.
“I love to race in America and this is still my goal,” he said. “For me it’s a little shame because I love the team to death. Back then with Alex Job, we connected very well, like a big family and it hurts a bit that I’ll be leaving [MSR], as it stands now.
“We’ll see where it goes. Right now I don’t know what’s happening next year. Hopefully in the next few weeks we’ll know.
“This year has been very difficult in general with COVID and less money everywhere around. It for sure doesn’t make it any easier. We’ll see. There’s lots of drivers that are available for now.
“There’s all kinds of stuff going on. We need to see.”