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.
No points at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Watkins Glen: Mario Farnbacher and his teammate Jeff Kingsley first had to battle a lack of experience and then technical issues. The duo’s streak of bad luck should come to an end at Lime Rock Park.
“We were on the back foot from the start because we only had one training session. That was a big disadvantage compared to all the other teams that had competed in the 6-hour race at Watkins Glen a week earlier. This meant that we had significantly less data available.“
To explain: While most race teams take part in the full season, Mario Farnbacher and the Compass Racing team focus on the sprint races.
Nevertheless, the Bavarian and his Canadian teammate demonstrated their potential and achieved top results in both practice and qualifying. Thanks to their strong pace, the two had a chance of scoring points in the race before a technical problem hit the Acura NSX GT3 Evo and dropped them back.
“It’s a shame that we again had so much bad luck. A good result would have been possible, I’m sure of that! Now, we are all the more motivated for our next race.”
Racing continues from 16 to 17 July at Lime Rock Park. Mario Farnbacher knows the track in Connecticut very well having made it onto the podium here several times in the past.
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.