Acura announced today that Andy Lally, Katherine Legge, Ozz Negri, Jr. and Jeff Segal will drive the NSX GT3 for the Michael Shank Racing arm next year in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship full time. At the same time, Peter Kox and Ryan Eversley will head up the RealTime Racing effort in Pirelli World Challenge.
MSR make the step up from a customer program the past few years fielding a Honda-powered LMP2 in the WeatherTech Championship, the fan favorite team is sure to please the crowds with the popular marque returning to the sport.
Honda Performance Development aims for sucess in it’s first year fielding the NSX GT3. Lally’s career boasts over 30 sports car wins and five class wins at the Rolex 24, the most recent being this year’s GT Daytona win with Magnus Racing. Legge’s experience hails from open wheel racing before serving a multi-year stint in the DeltaWing, leading this year’s Rolex 24 before a retirement. Being the pivotal pro driver for MSR, Negri has proven more than valuable for the Ohio-based squad. In 2016, Negri helped MSR earn two wins in the WeatherTech Championship alongside his season team mate, John Pew. Though Segal has most recently been associated with the red cars, his successful experience in the Continental Tire Challenge, Grand AM, and WeatherTech Championshp will serve the team well, with titles in 2007, 2010, and 2012.
Eversley’s previous two seasons with the brand have already seen great success in the previous generation TLX GT. A pair of sixth place finishes in the championship have come from three wins and eight Top 5 finishes. Peter Kox has already begun the process by testing the NSX GT3 at various circuits around the U.S., including a few public PWC practice sessions. With the announcement RTR owner, Peter Cunningham leaves the driver seat which he relequished earlier this year as Spencer Pumpelly drove his TLX GT through NSX development. His successful relationship with Acura has helped the brand achieve 88 World Challenge wins and 14 championships since 1993.
“It was an arduous selection process, but we’re extraordinarily pleased with the dynamic and experienced driver lineup which will launch our 2017 Acura Motorsports program with the new NSX GT3,” said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development. “We believe we’ve assembled a group of drivers who have the skill and experience to take the Acura NSX GT3 to Victory Circle, and who will proudly represent the performance DNA of the Acura brand for our many fans.”
Testing for the NSX GT3 began at Mid-Ohio with RealTime Racing entering the car is various Pirelli World Challenge practice sessions. Aside from testing with the World Challenge team, official IMSA tests have been scheduled for November and December ahead of the season-commencing Roar Before the 24 January 6-8. The cars will make their debut at the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Featured Image: Acura