The Heinricher Racing Acura NSX GT3 run by MSR in the IMSA championship could not capitalize the front row start on the Detroit Belle Isle circuit.
IMSA stars Christina Nielsen and Katherine Legge (sharing driving duties for the Heinricher Racing by MSR) qualified third in the #57 Caterpillar Acura NSX GT3 but took the start in second position after the pole-sitting car was moved to the rear of the GTD field for failing the post-qualifying technical inspection.
After posting the fastest lap during the first practice session and the second-fastest time in practice two, Legge and Nielsen found a solid balance that showed in Friday evening qualifying.
The strong start to the weekend had set the stage for the 100-minute race on Saturday afternoon. Legge was looking forward to defend her title after winning the race in 2017 and 2018, while Nielsen had finished on the Detroit podium three times.
Strong balance, quick pit stops and a solid race car were the perfect combination for a podium finish for the female duo: Katherine Legge and Christina Nielsen battled for the podium for most of the race, while the pit crew delivered a well-executed stop on Lap 22. For the first 50 laps, the talented ladies were never out of the top five. In the closing minutes of the race, as Legge was chasing down the third-placed competitor, an incident on Lap 51 spun the #57 Acura and left Legge to rejoin in ninth place.
“I am proud of the immense effort of the drivers during the entire race weekend,” said team principal, Jackie Heinricher. “I thank the entire MSR team for providing us an amazing car. We have extraordinary teamwork and that is crucial in racing. And motor racing at this level of IMSA is extremely competitive between the top athletes in the sport. Christina and Katherine, being two of the top drivers, put up an amazing fight! I’m very proud of the Heinricher Racing team and thank Caterpillar for their support and partnership. We look forward to Watkins Glen!”
“I was happy with how my stint went and overall we had a really good car today,” said Nielsen. “The team gave us a car that deserved a podium. The pit stop was good, the driver change was good, everything was just where it should be. Everyone put in great effort all weekend. The result just doesn’t reflect it. Hopefully we will walk into a similar package at Watkins Glen."
“We had such a strong package this weekend,” said Legge. “All weekend long the car was on rails and the guys really tuned it to be a great car to drive. Detroit is a tough track because it’s narrow and really tough to pass. Unfortunately, we had that incident in the end there and I got turned around. I wish we could have brought home another win for the team here in Detroit, but we will have to take what we learned and apply it to Watkins Glen.”
Legge-Nielsen will pair up again at the Six Hours of Watkins Glen, the next event on the IMSA schedule on June 27-30.
In Christina's words:
“Everyone put in great effort all weekend. The result just doesn’t reflect it.”