Ryan Eversley returns to the site of his weekend sweep one year ago and says the the Wisconsin-based RealTime Racing team has a good chance to defend its home turf in the new Acura NSX GT3 in Pirelli World Challenge competition.
Coming off of the team’s strongest showing yet at Lime Rock which saw Eversley score a pair of fifth-place finishes, and armed with the knowledge that the car is capable of winning after Michael Shank Racing’s GT Daytona class win earlier this month at Detroit, momentum is riding high in the Acura camp.
Eversley said that while the team and car are ready to win, they don’t expect to display the kind of dominance that they enjoyed last year with the Acura TLX GT.
“To know that we were dominant on the weekend last year is a really, really neat feeling, but I’m under no illusions that we’re going to be that car this year,” Eversley told Sportscar365.
“I’m sure we can be strong, but last year we knew we had a car that wasn’t very good at slowing down but it was very good at speeding up.
“We had straight-line, really good cornering speed, it was definitely that track for that car kind of situation.
“Now we have a car that handles a lot more like a Ferrari or a McLaren; not outrageous straight-line speed, but it’s okay. It brakes really well, it corners really well, so hopefully we can still be strong for our fans and families and everything that are here.
“I came to this race last year in the TLX knowing damn well that we were going to be a car to win.
“This weekend, I’m coming in thinking: I think we can be on the podium if everything goes right.”
Eversley acknowledged that seeing the NSX GT3 get to victory lane at Detroit in IMSA competition with Andy Lally and Katherine Legge behind the wheel showed how far the car has come and felt like a win for the PWC squad too.
“It was a big deal for RealTime as well because they developed the car from the get-go, and when the Shank team was announced and partnered with HPD and Acura, we all came together as one program for a couple of months,” said Eversley.
“Now we’ve split apart, at least in terms of schedule and shop location, but we interact constantly with that team and vice versa and HPD is right in the core of that helping both programs.
“I feel like myself, [teammate] Peter Kox, [and] all the engineers and mechanics, we had a role in this car coming to a win.
“Just to see two of my close friends get to drive it in that series and be the ones to get the win, that was even cooler.”
One element that may be in the team’s favor this weekend is the weather.
Both on-track sessions on Thursday were affected by rain, with rain potentially again in the forecast for Sunday, which could play into the car’s hands.
With track time at a premium leading into qualifying and the races, Eversley said RealTime’s recent test at Road America in dry conditions might be an asset.
“We had a weird session [Thursday] morning where it went from rain to dry, then a second session where it was raining from the get-go and stayed kind of damp the whole time,” he said.
“Maybe our test from two weeks ago will give us an advantage because we did two days of running in beautiful conditions, perfect temperature. Maybe that will help because there’s only a 30-minute session at the the end of the day [on Friday].
“Maybe we’ll be strong, or maybe the way these sessions go, we have a problem and no one else does. But it’s been a weird weekend already that maybe could help us or maybe it’ll be continuously weird and we’ll have to figure it out.
“It’s just one of those things that we’ve got to get more races under our belt to continue trying to get the best out of it.
“I’m coming into this weekend with more confidence even than I had at Lime Rock.”