Heinricher Racing LLC has announced plans to field an Acura GT3 with an all-female line-up in next year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, in partnership with Meyer Shank Racing. The No. 57 MSR Acura NSX GT3 entry will be backed by Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) and make its debut at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.
Katherine Legge, Simona De Silvestro and Ana Beatriz (Bia Figueiredo) will join Jackie Heinricher — a U.S. Air Force veteran and founder of biotech company BooShoot, who has raced in Ferrari Challenge, Lamborghini Super Trofeo and the Red Bull Global RallyCross Series — on the team. In partnership with MSR, Heinricher, Legge and Figueiredo will also compete in the 2019 Michelin Endurance Cup Championship rounds with De Silvestro confirmed for the season opener at Daytona. The Endurance Cup will also include events at Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans. The team will also include Lori Unser as a development driver.
In addition to its full season IMSA campaign, Heinricher/MSR/CAT are targeting the 24 Hours of Le Mans next June. The MSR team last raced and led laps at Le Mans in 2016 competing in the LMP2 category. Legge and Heinricher will co-drive for the full-season IMSA GTD campaign.
“Caterpillar is committed to a diverse workplace that’s representative of the customers we serve around the world,” said Victoria Morrissey, Caterpillar’s Global Marketing and Brand Director. “Women are an important, valuable part of our global team and this all-female race team is an example of how we support them.”
“I am honored to partner with CAT and to have their support,” said Jackie Heinricher (pictured at middle, above, with Shank and Legge. “My vision has long been to bring together a diverse team of four female drivers, some of the fastest globally, to join forces to compete together, and with the support of CAT, I get to see my long held vision become reality.” I am excited to be joining Michael Shank and the entire winning MSR team in this amazing partnership and to have the honor to compete with Katherine, Ana, and Simona.”
“This is truly a groundbreaking effort for next year, not only for us as a team but for the series as well,” Mike Shank, owner of MSR. “It’s great to have Katherine (Legge) back with us, she has been doing great this season as we fight for the championship. I also want to thank Jackie (Heinricher) for developing the Caterpillar partnership and we are excited to have her on board. Simona (De Silvestro) and Bia (Figueiredo) are also very strong talents, and hopefully with them all joined together we can make a statement next year.”
“It feels great — I have always wanted to do something like this to show the appeal of racing to a wider audience,” said Legge. “Jackie (Heinricher) has done an amazing job to create this opportunity and develop this partnership. I’m thrilled to be working with Simona and Bia, and it is exciting to return to Meyer Shank Racing with the Acura NSX GT3. We’ve had great success and we are looking forward to building on that starting at Daytona.”
“It’s pretty exciting and I think for sure the line up that we have is really strong,” added De Silvestro. “All of us girls have a lot of credibility and I think it will be quite exciting so I’m really looking forward to Daytona. I think the team dynamic will be very strong. For myself, it will be a little bit of learning but I am looking forward to it. It’s quite a special feeling to be a part of such a good team that has had a lot of success so I think this is going to be a great car to be in and to give us all a strong shot. I just can’t wait to go racing in Daytona, which I have always dreamt about.”
“I never thought this could happen in my career if you were to ask me a few years ago but it feels pretty exciting,” said Figueiredo. “I’ve known Katherine and Simona for a long time and they had great success where they have raced. The MSR team is always fighting for wins and championships in IMSA and I am sure they will do the best they can to get this girl power team in high positions. I can’t wait to be in the car for such important races like Daytona where I’ve never raced before but I’ve always dreamt about.”