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HART Unlikely for Mid-Ohio

HART unlikely to take part in home race at Mid-Ohio due to budget shortfall…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Despite an encouraging debut in top-level IMSA competition, HART is unlikely to take part in next month’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round at Mid-Ohio, according to team leader Chad Gilsinger.

The Ohio-based team, made up entirely of volunteers including Honda engineers that work at the Acura NSX production facility in Marysville, had been targeting the May 4-6 race in addition to its previously committed Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup program with an Acura NSX GT3.

However, a late-race incident at Sebring, which resulted in $80,000 in bodywork damage, has been among the factors that’s put the team on the sidelines for its home race.

“As of now, we’re not going to Mid-Ohio, unfortunately,” Gilsinger told Sportscar365.

“The team really wants to attend our home event in front of our home crowd and all of the employees.

“We’re trying really hard to make that happen, but unfortunately at the moment, we haven’t been able to secure the needed budget to do that additional race.”

A strong debut for HART was hampered by a broken shock as a result of contact at Daytona, while the team had been on pace for a top-five class finish in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring until getting collected in Tristan Vautier’s late-race accident.

Despite no car-to-car contact, debris from the Frenchman’s wrecked Cadillac DPi-V.R, including its splitter, ended up lodged inside the Acura and took Gilsinger and co-drivers Ryan Eversley and Tom Dyer out of contention.

Gilsinger, however, has reaffirmed plans to complete the Patron Endurance Cup season, with Dyer likely to rejoin he and Eversley for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Motul Petit Le Mans.

“There was discussion of us maybe doing Mid-Ohio and not doing of the others, because of it being our home track,” Gilsinger said. “But we really want to continue with what we planned to.

“We want to do The Glen and Petit, that way we stay on track and help Acura in the manufacturers points for the North American Endurance Cup, because between us and Shank, I think we can do pretty well for Acura.

“It’s definitely bitter-sweet. We’re happy to be able to continue [our program] but we really did want to do Mid-Ohio. Unfortunately it’s not working out quite like we had hoped yet.”

Only a single Acura GT3 car, MSR’s No. 93 car, is currently confirmed for the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, although an initiative is still understood to be ongoing to put the No. 86 Shank entry on the grid for the remainder of the season.

‘Surprising’ Performance at Daytona, Sebring

Gilsinger admitted that the team’s performance in the opening two rounds had perhaps taken some people by surprise.

Its Acura ran inside the top-five in both races, with Dyer ending up qualifying as the highest-placed NSX GT3 at Sebring.

“It’s been really good at the track, and I think it’s also been really good within the company,” Gilsinger said.

“I think we actually surprised a lot of people internally. I don’t want to say people didn’t think we could do it but I think they thought we’d struggle a lot more than we’ve had.”

The team has recently rolled out its own line of merchandise, due to numerous requests from fans on its social media accounts, which are looked after by Gilsinger’s son, Miles, a Purdue University engineering student.

“At Sebring, they sold out of all of our merchandise, and from my understanding, they said that even online sales has continued to roll in afterwards,” Gilsinger said.

“It’s really cool to see people that excited that they want to wear some our branded items.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. jeremy

    April 17, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Someone needs to step up and give these guys some money,
    You cant tell me that Columbus and Cleveland based Honda dealers cant put together 80-100k for free marketing of Ohio based Honda dealers on a truly competitive and fan favourite team!

    • Slicks in the wet

      April 18, 2018 at 5:50 am

      That’d be seen as a conflict of interest in a pro-am category.

  2. BarnOwlLover

    April 17, 2018 at 10:31 am

    One problem with that is that MSR is also based near Columbus and is also a full season entry.

  3. THE ESSES

    April 17, 2018 at 10:53 am

    Damn we should start a go-fund-me for this or something guys. real shame

  4. Jeremy

    April 17, 2018 at 11:08 am

    if you know how to do it send me the link- ill donate! I just don’t have 80k lying around?

    Is it strange that Honda helped the Shank team repair the NSX that crashed at Sebring but isn’t able to offer a discount on parts for a sister team for a race in their home state!

  5. Jimmy John

    April 17, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Why is Shank only having one car entered?

    • Paige

      April 17, 2018 at 1:01 pm

      This has been the plan all year. One full-time car; one car for NAEC races (unless circumstances help add a race or more).

      Plus, they have their 6-race INDYCAR program.

      • Psychlops924

        April 19, 2018 at 1:33 am

        And a full season Hyundai TCR program in Pirelli World Challenge

        • Psychlops924

          April 19, 2018 at 1:35 am

          Woops. My bad. That’s Herta Autosport

  6. bertownmayor

    April 17, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Maybe everyone could buy HART shirts mugs, etc to support them. Hmmmmm? If there was only a weblink to find such stuff

  7. jason

    April 17, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Maybe HART can focus on getting funding for Lime Rock and VIR at this point. I think the all GT races would be a great target for those with non full season GT aspirations.

    The smaller GTD grids won’t be a big deal at the full combined class races. But it will be noticeable if we can’t get GTD to 12-15 cars at the all GT races.

  8. Mike S.

    April 17, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Uh cause MSR is probably shaking his head saying why didn’t I stay in Protos as I could have 2 full season protos for the price of 1.5 GTD runs for a season.

    • getaclue

      April 21, 2018 at 11:58 pm

      Mike S, the old POS DPs might have been less expensive than GTD, but not a DPi.

      You think the Acura DPis are less expensive than a GTD?

      Good grief.

  9. Tim

    April 17, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    What about CJ Racing? Was that sebring only?

    • Hope to see CJ at Petit

      April 17, 2018 at 10:05 pm

      Believe they are the remaining rounds of NAEC so Watkins and Petit. Think CJ has mentioned full season in the future but not this season. Believe they are also considering other GT3 events like California 8Hour and COTA 24 hour race.

  10. MikeK

    April 25, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Any news about the NSX that HART is testing which is really close to GT4 spec?

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