Mario Farnbacher and teammates Kyffin Simpson and Till Bechtolsheimer were at the start of the Petit Le Mans on the Road Atlanta. The Acura works driver was behind the wheel of the NSX GT3 for Team Gradient Racing again and fighting for a win of the 10-hour-race in the US state of Georgia. In the end, the Franconian was lost for words!
Ten years earlier, Mario Farnbacher drove his first race in the US on the circuit close to Atlanta and promptly won it. A decade later, history was to repeat itself, despite the fact that the odds before the race start seemed against the 30-year-old from Ansbach. “Right from the beginning, things weren’t quite right. The trainings didn’t go smoothly, and we couldn’t run through the programme. But we felt it was important not to give up, because a lot can happen in an endurance race”, said Farnbacher. Gradient Racing’s qualifying ended before even a lap was completed, meaning starting the race from the last row on the grid.
Farnbacher’s battle declaration for the race was accordingly rather cautious: ”Nothing seemed to go well for us up till now. We have to look ahead and keep our chins up. It’s a long race and we’ll wait and see where it takes us.” From the first race minute onwards, the big chase began. The trio steadily fought its way forwards position by position and later even took the lead.
After 10 nail-biting hours, Farnbacher triumphantly crossed the finish line in first place and got out of his car, totally overwhelmed. “Nobody really expected this. The team did a fantastic job, Kyffin and Till gave 100% in their stints. My last one was incredibly tough and I’m sure it gave me one or two grey hairs. The cars in the GTD-Pro class in front of me were in a fearsome battle and I wanted to stay out of harm’s way. At the same time, I had to look behind to stop our rival from finding a way past. It all worked out though, and nobody had reckoned with us winning right from the rear. Simply awesome!”, Farnbacher exclaimed after his victory.
The 30-year-old now heads directly to Indianapolis. The GT World Challenge America is visiting the traditional circuit and for Farnbacher it will mean fighting for the title in the Pro-Am class.