Matt McMurry and Mario Farnbacher have credited the “good help” from two of Meyer Shank Racing’s engineers that helped propel Compass Racing to a runner-up class finish in the team’s long-distance endurance race debut.
McMurry, Farnbacher and GT3 debutant Ashton Harrison combined to finish second in the Silver class in their No. 77 Acura NSX GT3 Evo, which ran as high as third overall in the closing stages of Sunday’s Indianapolis 8 Hour presented by AWS.
The Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS entrant, which won the series’ race at the three-hour mark, was assisted by veteran MSR crew members Ryan McCarthy and Vincent Forges, who called strategy from the pit box.
McCarthy has been working with the Jill Beck-owned team since the season-opener at Sonoma Raceway this year.
McMurry was leading the Silver class in the closing stages of the eight-hour enduro until he was turned around by the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo of pole-sitter Alessandro Pier Guidi, who received a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility.
It dropped the Compass Acura to second in class and an eventual seventh place overall finish.
“It was a good race,” McMurry told Sportscar365. “It was a lot of fun fighting through so much traffic. I think we played the strategy really well. We had the pace too but the strategy was all-important here.
“I wish we didn’t get hit in the end. Still, second at least.”
Farnbacher explained that the rear-view camera failed on the car, which left McMurry to use the mirrors.
“With a functional camera he probably would have seen it but it’s really hard to say,” Farnbacher told Sportscar365.
“There’s a really short gap between the chicane and Turn 10 and there’s really not a lot of time to look into the mirror. You can but it’s more predictable with the camera.
“In the end it’s racing; it happens. It would have been better without the collision.”
McMurry, an aerospace engineering graduate whose day job is with Honda Performance Development, described the race strategy as “a little hard to follow.”
Compass took fuel-only on its final stop, which took the car out of the required 118-second pit lane delta for a full service stop.
“There was a minimum pit stop time but only certain circumstances where that applies so we really had to exploit all of the times that didn’t apply,” McMurry said.
“In the very end we were able to go from second to first in the pits because we didn’t do tires, which meant we could do the pit stop as fast as we wanted to.
“That got us into first. If we didn’t get hit we would have held onto that.”
Farnbacher added: “We got some good help [with strategy]. Without them I don’t think we would have been where we are right now. A big thanks to them.
“It was a new thing for the team. The drivers of the GT3 Academy did a really good job too [with third place in Silver]. They had really good pace and made no mistakes so it’s nice to see what we taught them.
“They almost kicked our butts!”
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report