Entering the Petit Le Mans season finale with a 32-point lead in the standings, Mario Farnbacher and Trent Hindman locked up the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship GTD drivers’ title merely by taking the green flag in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3. The race didn’t quite go as planned, however, as the No. 86 was forced to retire midway through the race after debris broke through the front of the car and caused several mechanical issues.
It was an unfortunate end to the race, but in the end, the full-season title is a first for both drivers in the WeatherTech Championship — as well as for team co-owner Michael Shank. Farnbacher previously won the 2017 Michelin Endurance Cup in GTD and Hindman’s resumé already boasts championships in the Michelin Pilot Challenge and Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America.
“This is certainly the most significant,” said Hindman. “It was an unbelievable opportunity to be in the WeatherTech GTD paddock. It’s a championship that I’ve been trying to get myself in for so long now. From the time I won the Pilot championship to now, it’s been a full five years. This is my first full season in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship competition, so I think that amount of time has prepared me correctly for this opportunity, and ultimately, working with some great people also made this happen. This is certainly the highlight of my career.”
“I have grown up here,” said Farnbacher, who has competed in a variety of sports car racing series around the world. “I drove the (Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring) back in the ALMS, but it was my first race here and it was my first in the U.S. racing. Then later on, I got my first full-season ride here and I just built myself up here. My brother was around here, my father, with some teams. It’s nice, if you look at the whole picture, my whole family was here. Now to be successful, to put my family name in the book, it means a lot to me.”
For the third consecutive year, the No. 33 Riley Motorsports — Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3 earned the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup in the GTD class with drivers Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen. As the team’s endurance driver, Fraga scored the IMEC driver title as well.