Starting the motorsport season with the Daytona 24-hour race, has become a tradition for Mario Farnbacher. However, one thing was different in 2023: In addition to participation in the endurance classic in Florida, a guest appearance within the TCR scene was also on the agenda.
As one of the ‘awesome foursome’ with Sheena Monk, Katherine Legge and Marc Miller, he was driving a Gradient Racing Team Acura NSX GT3. This was the team with whom he won the Petit Le Mans a year ago, in Daytona they secured fourth place in the GTD category. In addition, Farnbacher was on board with HART (Honda of America Racing Team) in a Civic FK7 TCR as part of the Michelin Pilot Challenge in the supporting programme.
“That was such a special weekend. Not least, because I was on the road with two cars that couldn’t have been more different. The Honda Civic is a strong touring car that demands a completely contrasting driving style. So I was able to learn a lot,” Mario Farnbacher comments.
The TCR assignment ended earlier than planned, due to a team colleague’s accident caused by another car. Things went much better for Farnbacher over the 24-hour race distance. Thanks to a clever strategy, the Gradient crew managed to recover the two-lap deficit in the race’s final phase. It was only then, that the Franconian was able to have a say in the podium fight.“Getting so close wasn’t something to be taken for granted! Badly-timed full-course-yellows meant we were at times two or three laps down behind the leaders. So with that in mind, a fourth place is more than ok. Sadly, we didn’t have enough pace and above all speed on the straights to reach the podium,” says Farnbacher, looking back at the race.