With yet another podium finish in the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR, Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian has strengthened its position atop the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD standings. Partly responsible for the Acura NSX GT3’s successful summer is Mario Farnbacher.
After several good runs in the earlier months of the season that brought them the championship lead, Farnbacher and teammate Trent Hindman — together with endurance-only driver Justin Marks — took their first victory of the season at Watkins Glen and immediately doubled down with three more second places in the following races.
Their summer success, however, didn’t change the team’s approach of the races, Farnbacher said.
“It didn’t change a lot; we still approach every race weekend the same and go through the weekend the same way. We just keep it calm, stay out of trouble and go for it.”
As the younger of two brothers, Mario follows in the footsteps of his brother Dominik who has spent much of his career in America’s premium sports car championships. The older brother was the catalyst that brought Mario across the Atlantic.
“My father back then had a team in the USA and my brother was also racing there. Ian James was his teammate and he caught wind of something. One thing led to another and we ended up with the Heart Of Racing deal.
“My brother has helped me a lot. He’s always around [in the USA] and helping me out. I learn so much from him and still miss him around here.”
In addition to his racing career in America, Farnbacher returned to the European scene to participate in the Spa 24 Hours with the JAS Motorsport-run Honda NSX GT3 works car where he finished sixth after starting the race as far back as 33rd. The turnaround came on race day, when the heatwave that haunted the practice and qualifying days made way for a rainy weekend in the Ardennes.
“It was a really difficult race in terms of conditions and everything else,” Mario Farnbacher continued. “The conditions during the race were actually in our favour. The warm temperatures didn’t suit our car very well, so I appreciated the cooler temperatures on race day!
“We finished well, it was a good result for the JAS Motorsport team and the Honda brand because they never finished that well at Spa before. It was a good run.”
Whereas in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, JAS Motorsport represents the Japanese manufacturer with the Honda NSX GT3, in the USA the rebadged Acura NSX GT3 is run by Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian.
“They are totally different teams. With JAS there are Italians involved! They’re both good teams and I really like them. The mentality is different: Europeans act differently from Americans. But also, the cars are different, mainly in the tyres: [The Michelin tyres in IMSA] are difficult to handle and we took a lot of time to understand the tyre-car combination.”
Christian Rodriguez contributed to this article.
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