Renger van der Zande believes he could have fought the pair of Walkenhorst BMW M6 GT3s to the end of the Indianapolis 8 Hour had his JAS Motorsport Acura NSX GT3 Evo not had faced dramas in its second-to-last pit stop.
The Dutchman and fellow IMSA drivers Dane Cameron and Mario Farnbacher finished third in the U.S. leg of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli, one lap behind the winning No. 34 Walkenhorst BMW, due to a delay related to an electrical issue.
Cameron had pitted the car third in class, less than ten seconds behind overall leader Nicky Catsburg, although a problem with the car’s Eclutch system saw it lose more than two minutes on pit lane as the car struggled to get into gear.
It regelated the factory Acura squad to nearly two laps behind and out of the fight for a win or runner-up finish.
“The car was good enough to give the BMWs a hard fight,” van der Zande told Sportscar365. “I don’t know if we would have won but at least we could have made a nice show of it.
“In the end, the team did a fantastic job with the setup being the first time here. We were all up to pace and it was nice to finish the race and give it a good go.
“At the end of the day it’s a podium; it’s a nice podium to be at here at Indy. But I would have liked to have given a better fight.”
The Team Honda Racing entry — running under Acura badging this weekend while in the U.S. market — was initially put off sequence on strategy due to a closed pit lane at one point during a safety car period that forced them to pit as the field went to green.
Cameron managed to get back onto the lead lap with three hours to go due to a wave-by prior to the car encountering its electrical issue.
“It seemed to yo-yo a little bit depending on stints,” Cameron told Sportscar365. “I think we missed it a handful of times on our tire pressures on some of the stints. Sometimes we were really good and sometimes we faded small amounts.
“But I think we’re pleased to be competitive and to be in the game. I think this program continues to get better race by race, a little bit closer to the pointy end.
“A first podium for this program in this car in this championship is still a nice achievement.”
Rain-Soaked, Chilly Indy Race “Good Preparation” for 24H Spa
Both van der Zande and Farnbacher believe Sunday’s race has given the Italian squad good preparation heading into the Total 24 Hours of Spa later this month.
The Dutchman, Farnbacher and Bertrand Baguette finished sixth overall in what had been the program’s best finish prior to its Indy podium.
“I think the team — the last time we were working together was Bathurst — so getting everybody up to speed again for the Spa event with the JAS Motorsport people and together with HPD, I think we are going there much better prepared if we wouldn’t have done this race,” van der Zande said.
Farnbacher, who tested with JAS at the Belgian circuit in July, believes the cooler-than-expected weather at Indy, and early race rain showers, has also given them good preparation.
“We know Spa can be very difficult weather-wise and technically now it’s going to rain quite a lot [being in late October],” he said. “We know the car performs very well in the rain.
“Also it’s good in mixed conditions. I think we have a good potential, we have a good car and crew. We just have to improve a few tiny mistakes. I think we are pretty good for Spa.”