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Acura NSX GT3 to Make PWC Return With Farnbacher at WGI

HART/RealTime to enter Acura NSX GT3 in PWC season finale for Mario Farnbacher…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

The Acura NSX GT3 will make its return to Pirelli World Challenge, with a joint HART/RealTime Racing effort confirmed for next weekend’s season-ending round at Watkins Glen International.

Mario Farnbacher will drive the mid-engined sports car in the pair of 50-minute Sprint races, marking the Acura’s first PWC outing since its two-car factory-supported RealTime effort last year.

According to NSX GT3 program manager Lee Niffenegger, the objective will be to showcase the car’s potential under SRO Motorsports Group’s Balance of Performance, with an eye to growing Acura’s North American customer base for 2019.

“Basically, we want to sell cars,” Niffenegger told Sportscar365. “We don’t have a presence in World Challenge [GT] and not really a big presence in any other SRO [run series].

“Obviously [PWC] is a missing market for us as we have four cars in IMSA.

“We want to show the car in SRO with Pirelli tires and we’re hoping to get a customer by having a good result.”

While having scored a victory in PWC competition, the 2017 season saw mixed results, due to what Niffenegger cited as challenges with the BoP, which he feels has been improved.

“Working with SRO and the FIA, I think we now have the car where it needs to be to be competitive and I think we’ve shown that in ADAC [GT Masters] but we need to show that in North America as well,” he said.

“We have a capable driver in Mario, who has already won a race in a NSX, so nobody can doubt his ability.”

Watkins Glen will see three of Acura’s teams joining forces, with support also coming from Meyer Shank Racing, according to Niffenegger, who said they received PWC’s blessing for the one-off race.

“[PWC’s] interest is the same as ours, in trying to get more cars,” he said. “They know we’re a North American-based manufacturer. They have their interests.”

The addition of the Acura boosts the GT entry to 13 cars for next weekend’s season finale.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. David Chaste

    August 26, 2018 at 4:32 am

    Mario Farnbacher is still a Silver…

    • jaysfan

      August 29, 2018 at 9:16 pm

      And your point is?

  2. jaysfan

    August 26, 2018 at 7:26 am

    All the best to Acura, I hope they’re succesful at the Glen and decide on racing full time in World Challenge

  3. Larry

    August 26, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    13 whole GT3 cars. Wow. NASCAR has only about 10 GT3 cars. WTF?

    The race at Suzuka just had 35 GT3 cars.

    Blancpain usually has a similar count.

    I am really not an SRO fan, but sheesh.

    NASCAR counts are due to the ridiculous fees they charge and enforcing this Pro-Am setup.

    PWC is just plain uninteresting.

    • Matt

      August 26, 2018 at 3:38 pm

      The race Suzuka was part of the international championship for GT3 cars. Of course it’s going to have more entrants. Internationally, sports car racing is second only to open-wheel racing, while in North America Nascar is still king, then Indycar, then sports cars. The low entry numbers have nothing to do with enforcing a pro-am class and everything to do with expensive costs of running a program. These past 2 years it’s cost the same amount to run a P2 car as a GT3 car. You’re correct in saying that manufacturer fees have hurt IMSA a lot more than they’ve helped, though.

      • Larry

        August 26, 2018 at 8:53 pm

        Check the car count last year at Laguna, Matt.

        Was part of IGTC and it had 5 GT3 cars but was run by PWC.

        As I noted, Blancpain has the very good GT3 car counts at every event.

        And you guys keep parroting this “cost” thing and if you think it costs as much to run a GT3 car as a P2 car, I suggest you check your “facts”.

        • Matt

          August 27, 2018 at 12:41 am

          That was last year, an event that was put on pretty much last minute. It was run by the SRO.
          It costs relatively as much to run a P2 car as a GT3 car now. I suggest you do some research. You do realize that P2 is basically a spec series where everyone has an Oreca, right?

      • getreal

        August 26, 2018 at 8:59 pm

        Matt, if it costs as much to run a GT3 car as a P2 car, explain the very healthy car counts in GT3 in Europe?

        I know it’s more popular in Europe, but the cost of running a GT3 car is the same whether you are in Blancpain or WeatherTech except for the ridiculous fees that NASCAR demands.

        Privateer teams are running GT3 cars in SRP, ADAC, VLN, etc in Europe. So, they can afford it better than the teams here when they could be running a P2 for the same money, according to you.

        • getreal

          August 26, 2018 at 9:00 pm

          Should be SRO not SRP.

        • Matt

          August 27, 2018 at 1:01 am

          There are more events run in IMSA (about 10) vs. the 6 in the Blancpain series. This mean the costs are higher for a season of IMSA racing vs. the European equivalent. IMSA also has what are basically factory teams with Lexus and Acura, and a tendency for pro-silver drivers to race in the series and scare away the poor “gentlemen” drivers. I think driver ratings are ridiculous by the way, but it’s what pleases the rich pay drivers nowadays. These seemingly minor factors along with the popularity factor of road racing/sports car racing in America lead to lower car counts compared to Europe where road racing is dominate.

    • LongLiveLittleE

      August 26, 2018 at 6:25 pm

      I ain’t seen a damhum GT3 cur in NASCAR. Dem GT3 curs got real headlites.

      • Larry

        August 26, 2018 at 8:54 pm

        NASCAR owns the WeatherTech series and this bunch sure as hell don’t deserve to be called IMSA.

        • jaysfan

          August 26, 2018 at 9:40 pm

          Thanks Larry, I’m glad I’m not the only one who knows it and people tend to think I’m off my medication for believing so

    • jaysfan

      August 26, 2018 at 9:38 pm

      Uh, how does nascar come into all this? I think you have Pirelli World Challenge, which is owned by SRO, Stephan Ortelli, mixed up with “IMSA” which is attached at the hip to nascar!

      • Matt

        August 27, 2018 at 12:35 am

        Stephan Ortelli? You mean Stephane Ratel.

        • jaysfan

          August 29, 2018 at 9:18 pm

          That’s the one, I think the other guy might be his some long distance relative! 🙂

      • Matt

        August 27, 2018 at 12:46 am

        Nascar is king in America, meaning that the majority of racing in America occurs throughout Nascar’s affiliates and sprint car series which are seen as ladder series. Sports car racing is not as popular among drivers in America compared with Europe. Therefore, European sports car series support much larger grids.

        • jaysfan

          August 31, 2018 at 5:07 am

          Matt, I have news for you bud, nascar is heading into a giant hole, thanks to the France family, they’ve made a decision to go from 43 to to 40 teams, yet,at Watkins Glen, only 37 teams took the green flag, the promoters can’t sell out the events, race night, most of the grand stands are half empty, ah yes, but nascar is king huh? Good luck to you if you want to think that way!

  4. David

    August 27, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    John, why was Ryan Eversley overlooked? He can drive the TCR as well as the GT3.

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