Trent Hindman says he’s had to “refocus and understand” what’s needed from him in his new role as an IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup only-driver with Meyer Shank Racing this year.
Hindman, who teamed with Mario Farnbacher to win the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona class title last year, has been placed in the team’s sister, Heinricher Racing-entered Acura NSX GT3 Evo for the four long-distance races only.
While having been among several standout Silver-rated drivers last year that were expected to be moved to Gold, Hindman was confirmed by the FIA and IMSA as a Silver on Nov. 19, some 20 days after Matt McMurry was named to Hindman’s former seat in the No. 86 Acura alongside the returning Farnbacher.
Admitting that the timing of the release of 2020 driver ratings played a factor, Hindman told Sportscar365 that he will not dwell on the fact that he’s not back for full-season championship defense.
“Looking at the entry list this year in GTD, I’d like to think a combination of Mario and I, Meyer Shank Racing, Acura NSX, I think it would be a really good threat for another championship,” he said.
“But at the end of the day, I’m called upon to do a job and I’m going to do that job to the best of my abilities.
“This year it’s in a little bit of a reduced role. I’m just fortunate to be working with Acura and Honda Performance Development and Jackie Heinricher and Heinricher Racing and the MSR team.
“Even though it’s just for the four long-distance races, this is a team that’s absolutely got every opportunity to win those races and then go win and beyond with Misha [Goikhberg] and Alvaro [Parente] being the full-season drivers.”
Before making his full-season WeatherTech Championship debut, Hindman played a similar role with MSR in 2018, having teamed with Parente and Katherine Legge, who ended up finishing second in the GTD title race that year.
“Having that experience from 2018, what it’s like to be in that third driver role and that scenario, you’re only physically supporting the team for four races,” Hindman said.
“But at the end of the day, the job of the third and even the fourth driver, with AJ [Allmendinger]…
“AJ was a huge contributing factor, even beyond Daytona last year [for the 86 car’s championship].
“That’s absolutely my goal for the 57 car this year with Alvaro and Misha. I’m going to try and assist them to the best of my ability, even in the moments I’m not in the car.”
Despite the situation being out of his hands, Hindman hopes further clarity on driver ratings could be made sooner in the year in order to prevent potential situations like this from happening again.
“The news of what was going on with driver ratings definitely came too late in terms of how close we were to this event and the Rolex 24,” he said.
“It’d be nice to see a little bit of a revision on how soon we get that news. I think that definitely took away some opportunities on Mike’s side and on my side.
“I’m not going to dwell on the fact that woe is me, the universe owes me another full-season ride.
“Because frankly, they don’t. What I’m going to do is focus on doing the best job that I possibly can and try to win these four long-distance races.”
Hindman Targeting GS Title in “Resurrected” Archangel Effort
The 24-year-old will remain busy within the IMSA paddock as Hindman is once again back with Alan Brynjolfsson in Michelin Pilot Challenge competition, but under the Archangel Motorsports banner.
Hindman and Brynjolfsson finished fourth in the GS standings last year in a Park Place Motorsports-entered Porsche 718 Cayman GT4, which has been transformed into a program now run by Mike Johnson, who has resurrected his old team name.
“It’s a largely unchanged team from last year,” Hindman said. “We’re sticking with the Porsche Cayman. I’m looking forward to having another year working with Alan, Mike Johnson and all of our guys over at Archangel.
“It’s cool to be part of that resurrection and I hope we gain Mike some momentum and get him into a spot where he can really develop the team into ultimately what he envisions.
“Last year, despite all of the absolutely terrible luck that Alan and I and the Park Place team had, I think the fact that we were fighting for the top-three in the championship as a true Pro-Am lineup goes to show how well Alan is doing in the car, how far he’s come and how much effort he’s put into it.
“I made quite a few mistakes that took us out of even fighting for a higher position in the championship but I absolutely think this is a championship effort [for this year].”