Compass Racing’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Laguna Seca came to an end after just two corners. A collision involving Mario Farnbacher’s new teammate, Jacob Abel, cost him and the team the chance of a good result.
“I think we did a good job over the weekend getting with a competitive set-up. But we were taken out of the race as early as turn two and as a result, we pretty much didn’t get to drive at all,” said the two-time GTD class champion.
Honda Performance Development GT3 Academy driver Abel initially qualified eleventh on the grid in the GTD class in Compass Racing’s Acura NSX GT3 Evo. But the driver duo was eliminated before the race had really taken off. In the starting fray, the car was hit by an opponent at the exit of the second corner and spun out into the run-off zone. Farnbacher, who had been concentrating on the set-up for the race in the practice sessions, did not come into action.
“Jacob did a good job for his first IMSA weekend. I more or less worked on setting the car up for the race, while he focused more on qualifying. Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite as smoothly in qualifying, but I think we would have had a good car for the run,” the 29-year-old continued.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship continues 24 and 25 September on the famous street circuit in Long Beach. For the Franconian, it is the first start at the former Grand Prix circuit in southern California.
Lightning forced the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to end prematurely, dashing Mario Farnbacher and his teammate Jeff Kingsley’s hopes of a top result.
“What can I say? I personally think calling the race was an incorrect decision by the IMSA. I feel very frustrated, because I was expecting a much better result for this race”, said Farnbacher.
Kingsley started in the Acura NSX GT3 Evo from tenth on the grid and maintained a top 10 position in the tight field of the GTD class. Farnbacher took the wheel of the Compass Racing-Acura for the second stint and delivered an impressive performance with consistently fast laps. The 29-year-old had pushed forward to ninth position, before the red flag waved due to the thunderstorm and the event was then halted.
“I’m really disappointed. Firstly, for the fans and secondly for us too. I think we’d put an effective package together for the race, but there’s nothing we can do about it now. The race call means it’s just a ninth-place finish”, the two-time GTD champion stated.
The journey continues from the shortest track on the IMSA Championship schedule to the season’s longest – the 6,5-kilometre-long Road America, which enjoys cult status amongst the fans. The next race event, the “IMSA Sportscar Weekend”, takes place from 5to 8 August.
Brilliant sunshine and cheering spectators – the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in Mid-Ohio presented itself at its very best on 16 May. And the Compass Racing-Acura with Mario Farnbacher and Jeff Kingsley was in the thick of it. The German-Canadian duo’s fifth place in the Sprint Cup debut was a promising result for the team, that had launched the NSX GT3 Evo in the championship for the very first time.
“We can be happy with our performance”, the 29-year-old summed up. “It’s still a very young project, which naturally means we have a lot of work ahead. We had to make quite a few adjustments to the setup at the weekend, but we’re getting there step-by-step. We can build on our fifth place, which was a great start.”
The Acura-duo laid the foundations for the top 5 result during qualifying. A new format for 2021 plans two sessions: Farnbacher and Kingsley secured the season’s first points with a fourth in the so-called “Points Qualifying” and in the “GTD Qualifying”, which decides start positions in the race, the Compass Racing drivers finished eighth.
The race itself saw them both delivering a consistent performance and masses of fighting spirit. Starting from seventh on the grid due to a penalty for a competitor, the pair held itself permanently within striking distance to the lead and finally saw the chequered flag as fifth in the GTD category. Not only their top result, but also the tight wheel-to-wheel duels stirred up plenty of spectator enthusiasm.
“We got the maximum out of the race”, the reigning GTD champion adds. “We had a few problems to deal with, but all in all we coped very well. All those tight fights on the track were also great fun. I hope things continue like this!”
Second stop on the WeatherTech Sprint Cup calendar is Detroit. The next fight for points and trophies takes place on 11 and 12 June on the Raceway at Belle Isle Park.
Mario Farnbacher is participating in the coming 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship again. Together with teammate Jeff Kingsley, the 28-year-old Franconian will be driving Compass Racing’s Acura NSX GT3 Evo in the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup. First race is scheduled for 16 May in Mid-Ohio.
“I’m really looking forward to the new challenge and working with the team”, says Farnbacher. “And I’m incredibly proud to be a part of the Acura family again. Many thanks go to the team and of course Acura and HPD, for making this possible.”
The Acura driver returns to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as the reigning, two-time GTD Champion. Ansbach-native Farnbacher has been on the road in the championship with a NSX GT3 since 2018 and has celebrated numerous victories and podiums since then.
He’ll be contributing his expertise to the cooperation with Compass Racing. The Canadian team will be competing with an Acura NSX GT3 Evo for the first time in 2021 – in the Sprint Cup of the American sports car series as well as the GT World Challenge America.
“It’ll be the team’s debut season with the car, but they have a lot of GT experience. We’ve tied up a fantastic package and I’m convinced we can secure more victories and podiums for Acura together”, the HPD works driver continues.
First joint appearance on the Mid-Ohio track will be on 14 to 16 May, when the season’s first race under the Sprint Cup flag takes place.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship curtain-raiser didn’t take off as Mario Farnbacher and his team Magnus with Archangel had hoped. After tyre damage and technical problems, the Acura driver and his teammates Andy Lally, John Potter and Spencer Pumpelly had to settle with eleventh place at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“Of course, we expected more”, the Franconian explained after the Florida race. “It wasn’t an easy weekend and we had to cope with a lot of minor problems. We tried to make the best of it, but simply couldn’t keep up with the frontrunners.”
The quartet behind the wheel of the Acura NSX GT3 Evo #44 started from eleventh on the grid. Positions had been assigned a week earlier at the official test, the Roar before the Daytona 24. From 29 to 31 January, there were four practice sessions scheduled at the Daytona circuit before the 24-hour race.
However, instead of starting the chase, the Acura team suffered a premature setback, when tyre damage in the first hour forced them to pit. Fighting spirit and all attempts to make up the lost laps went unrewarded. Technical issues during the night dashed all further hopes of recovery and so finally only an eleventh place was possible.
“We really tried everything, it just wasn’t our weekend”, said the 28-year-old afterwards. “Nevertheless, many thanks to the entire crew, Magnus Racing, Archangel Motorsports, Acura and of course my teammates. We fought together till the end.”
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship begins its 2021 season from 27 to 31 January. The traditional curtain-raiser to the US sportscar season is the Rolex 24 at Daytona, where Mario Farnbacher will be in action for Magnus with Archangel in the Acura NSX GT3 Evo.
The 28-year-old will be joining up with John Potter, Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly behind the wheel of the #44 Acura at the Daytona endurance classic. The foursome will have a chance to test out their 2021 challenger at the official test, the Roar before the Rolex 24.
“I can’t wait for the race and would like to thank the team for giving me a chance,” Farnbacher said. “After three years with Meyer Shank Racing, the time has come for a new challenge – and we have a strong package allowing us to be in the hunt for victories.”
The team has a wealth of experience at Daytona International Speedway. Pumpelly is a two-time class winner of the 24-hour race, together with Potter and Lally he finished second here back in 2020. Farnbacher, the two-time and reigning GTD champion, completes a strong line-up.
The Magnus Racing and Archangel Motorsports team will be racing an Acura NSX GT3 Evo for the first time in 2021. Both teams have been successfully racing in the US sportscar championship for a number of years.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 2021 begins with the Roar before the Rolex 24 from 22 to 24 January. The first race of the season, the 24 Hours of Daytona, takes place one week later. Fans can follow all the action on the free live stream.
Mario Farnbacher and Team Honda Racing played a dominant role at the Kyalami 9 Hour – the finale of the Intercontinental GT Challenge from 10 to 12 December. However, after the Honda NSX GT3 Evo’s pole and countless kilometers in the lead, a thunderstorm during the final hour denied the driver trio its victory. In the end, the Franconian and his teammates Bertrand Baguette and Renger van der Zande crossed the line in fourth place.
“We’re obviously all rather disappointed”, the 28-year-old explained after the season’s fourth race. “Victory was close enough to touch, and we could also have won the championship, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Nevertheless, I’m extremely proud of the team and we’ve proved the NSX GT3 Evo is capable of winning. I’d like to thank Honda, HPD, JAS Motorsport and my team colleagues for the strong season.”
The #30 crew’s qualifying best times had already proved they had what it takes for victory and Farnbacher underlined their will to win in the subsequent Pole Shootout – the top 6 showdown. The Ansbach-born driver, who celebrated his Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit debut weekend, secured pole position with a 1:41.581 lap time.
Baguette, van der Zande and Farnbacher also dominated the race action, before a late thunderstorm shook up the classification. Torrential rain resulted in a full course yellow that continued till the finish. Farnbacher finally came through in fourth place.
“The rain and the full course yellow definitely put a spanner in the works”, said Farnbacher. “We had to pit again in the last hour, after which I took the wheel, but then got stuck behind a ten-second slower driver. So that enabled rivals to pull past. That was incredibly frustrating.”
After the season’s four races in Australia, the U.S., Belgium and South Africa, Farnbacher and van der Zande end the Intercontinental GT Challenge with a fifth place in the standings.
Mario Farnbacher’s 2020 season comes to an end with the Intercontinental GT Challenge in South Africa. From 10 to 12 December, the 28-year-old will be competing in the Kyalami 9 Hour for Team Honda Racing with Renger van der Zande and Bertrand Baguette. The trio intends to successfully finish the season with a top result.
The squad was already on the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in 2019, but it will be a premiere for Farnbacher on the 4.5 kilometre track close to Johannesburg.
“I’m very much looking forward to the race”, says the Ansbach-born driver looking ahead to the fourth race of the season. “I don’t know the track yet, but everyone says driving there is good fun. I’ve done my best to prepare myself at home as much as possible and get to know the circuit. The most important thing the next few days will be the practice sessions.”
After the season’s first podium in Indianapolis and a top 10 position in Spa, the NSX GT3 Evo #30 team is also reckoning with chances of an excellent result in South Africa.
The Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit is well known for its demanding route, enthralling race action and also its freak weather. Baking temperatures, violent downpours, as well as thunderstorms dominated the race weekend in 2019.
“It’ll definitely be a challenging race”, the Honda driver continues. “The field has thinned out due to the Corona pandemic, but above all, there’ll be factory-supported cars at the start. So we’ll be competing against the best of the best and will have to give all we’ve got if we want to land at the front.”
The weekend race action begins with Free Practice on Friday evening. Qualifying and Pole Shootout follow on Saturday. Green light for the nine-hour race is on Saturday, 12 December, at 12:00 local time (11:00 German time). Live stream and live timing services are available on the official website.
The 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is over and Mario Farnbacher is GTD Champion again. Together with Matt McMurry and Meyer Shank Racing, the Franconian celebrated his second title in a row in Sebring. With a third place at the 12-hour race in Florida, the Acura squad polished off the title.
In the end 286 points were enough: a two-point advantage and a total of six podiums, including two victories, won the championship. For the 28-year-old, it’s the second title after 2019 with the Ohio-based team – in addition to Meyer Shank Racing winning the 2020 team championship.
“It’s absolutely unbelievable! I was on the road with the team in 2018 for the first time and now we’re celebrating our second title”, said Farnbacher proudly. “The crew’s done a fantastic job this season and many thanks go to Meyer Shank Racing, Acura and HPD, who all made this success possible.”
The race itself was a real thriller. Starting from eighth on the grid, the teammates Matt McMurry and Shinya Michimi at the wheel of the Acura NSX GT3 Evo #86 had to make up a lot of ground. Farnbacher took over in the second half of the race, an involuntary spin slowed him down briefly, but the 28-year-old continued his fight forwards to second position.
A yellow phase in the final stage brought the field closer together and finally Farnbacher saw the checkered flag in third place, securing 30 championship points.
“In the past, Sebring hasn’t been the best patch for the Acura NSX GT3, but the crew did an amazing job on the car’s set-up”, the Franconian explained. “We were able to maintain our position with the frontrunners, even though the race was unbelievably exhausting.”
It’s time for the title showdown in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. On 14 November, GTD championship leaders Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry will compete in the endurance classic that is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The Acura duo enjoy a seven-point advantage in the standings, so the mission is clear: secure plenty of points and wrap the title up.
“We are focusing 100% on winning the championship,” said Farnbacher, the reigning GTD champion. “We don’t need to win in Sebring. It’s important to finish the race and take as many points as we can. The race will be hard, there’s no doubt about that. That’s why we will need to be on top of our game and give absolutely everything.”
Farnbacher and McMurry have five podiums, including two victories, to their name so far in the 2020 season. Another well-placed finish would give the 28-year-old his second GTD drivers’ title in as many years. In 2019, the Ansbach-born driver wrapped up the championship with the Meyer Shank Racing team at a dramatic season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
The German-American duo will be looking to build on the momentum from the last race at Laguna Seca, where Farnbacher and McMurry led from start to finish and snatched back the lead in the standings. Ahead of the season finale in Sebring, the battle for the championship remains extremely close: just ten points separate the top 4 in the GTD championship.
At the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the two full-season Acura drivers in the #86 NSX GT3 Evo will once again be ably assisted by Shinya Michima. The 2020 race will mark Michimi’s debut in the event, whereas Farnbacher has celebrated two class victories (2015 and 2017) at the famous Florida circuit in the past.
The finale of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Sebring International Raceway gets underway at 10:10 local time (16:10 CET) on Saturday, 14 November. The action can be followed free of charge via the series’ official live stream.