Gradient Racing has confirmed a Michelin Endurance Cup program with the new Acura NSX GT3 Evo22, with HPD Driver Academy graduate Kyffin Simpson joining factory driver Mario Farnbacher and team regulars Till Bechtolsheimer and Marc Miller as drivers.
It marks the first confirmed Acura GTD class entry for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
The Texas-based team led by Anders Laivins contested the WeatherTech Sprint Cup races for the last two years although had been present for the majority of the Endurance Cup rounds last year operating SunEnergy1 Racing’s program.
It included a podium finish in the 2021 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“It’s awesome to be able to combine our regulars Till and Marc, with Mario’s extraordinary knowledge of the NSX, and our newest Gradient driver, Kyffin Simpson,” Laivins said.
“He has already had a bunch of success in the open-wheel world, and we’re eager to have him bring everything he learned in the HPD Academy to our program.
“This will be my 20th season racing professionally, and though I’ve run this race a handful of times, and we made it on the podium last year with one of our clients, this is the first time we’re doing it fully in-house. It’s a big deal for our team.
“With our hardworking group of women and men, an updated NSX GT3 Evo22, and great technical support from HPD, we are going to Florida with a good package.
“Daytona is a big race, it feels special every time you get to do it.”
John Whiteman, HPD commercial motorsports manager added: “This program represents a coming together of many members of the HPD family.
“Pairing Kyffin Simpson as the FRA Champion and an HPD Academy graduate with two-time GTD Champion Mario Farnbacher authentically demonstrates opportunities for HPD powered drivers.
“Additionally, Gradient is a longtime partner, who has won races with the NSX GT3 but also assembles all of the championship winning HPD Civic Type R race cars.
“We are all very appreciative of the opportunity to bring honor to Acura Motorsports in such an organic way.”
Laivins said the team is hopeful to contest the full WeatherTech Championship for the first time, although it has yet to be confirmed.
“Right now we are committed to the IMSA MEC, but we are still working on finding the right partner and driver combination to add the Sprint races to our schedule,” he explained.
“Some of the guys in the car have conflicts for the shorter races.
“We would really love to turn this into a full season entry and represent Acura properly in the Championship.”