Trent Hindman says it was a “bitter sweet” feeling to win the GT Daytona championship while not being able to take the checkered flag in Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans.
Hindman and Farnbacher clinched the drivers’ title by their No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo just starting Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale.
However, a punctured radiator from a rock ultimately led to the car’s demise just prior to halfway in the ten-hour enduro, which forced Hindman to pit and retire the overheating GTD car.
It marked only the team’s second DNF of the season, in a situation that Hindman said was “totally” out of his and the team’s control.
“It’s bitter sweet to say the least because going into this final round of the IMSA WeatherTech season, we knew all we needed to do was cross the start/finish line,” Hindman said.
“Cool, we got the driver and teams’ championship wrapped up, which is a huge accomplishment for both Mario and I, for Mike [Shank] and for the entire Meyer Shank Racing crew.
“I’m definitely a little bit bummed about it. But no way did we ever expect to be up here and calling ourselves champions after 2019. It’s a very cool feeling.”
The 24-year-old, in his first full-season of WeatherTech Championship competition, has proclaimed the title alongside Farnbacher as the “most significant” of his career.
While only earning one class win in the season, at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen alongside the team’s Michelin Endurance Cup driver Justin Marks, Hindman and Farnbacher proved to be the most consistent pairing in the season.
The championship was also a long-time coming for the New Jersey native.
“From the time I won the Pilot Challenge championship to now has been a full five years and this is my first full season in WeatherTech Championship competition,” he said.
“I think that amount of time has prepared me correctly for this opportunity and ultimately working with some great people but this is certainly the highlight of my career.”
Hindman Prepared for Possible Bump to Gold Rating
Hindman said the next few weeks will prove vital on whether MSR will be able to retain its GTD title-winning lineup, in the wake of the initial release of the FIA’s driver ratings for 2020.
However, the Silver-rated driver has admitted that it’s unlikely he and Farnbacher will be back together as as season-long co-drivers.
“Will Mario and I be in a car together? Probably not,” Hindman told Sportscar365.
“By all accounts, and even going into this year, Mike [Shank] made it very clear that this is a one-shot deal for you. I can only really help you out for one year.
“You can do one of two things: You can either putz around in fifth all year and solidify yourself as a Silver or if you’re going to go out and try to win races, which I’m here for, you can do the absolute best you can do and try to make yourself not just one of those guys that’s going to get bumped up, but be one of those guys who are going to be desirable when they’re bumped up.
“That was the goal from the get-go. I don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s a lot of speculation but I’m prepared for either scenario.”
Hindman said he’s been thankful for the guidance given from team co-owner Shank on his career progression.
“Mike has really done everything to make me aware of what may and may not happen and prepare myself for it, have backup plans and all of that,” he said.
“He has been an unbelievable guiding light to me in that sense, which makes him much more than our team owner.
“That relationship between he an I goes much deeper.
“I want to stay with Meyer Shank Racing. I want to be in an Acura. It’s a pretty lethal combination.”