RACERS EDGE TO CAMPAIGN AN ACURA NSX GT3 EVO FOR A THIRD GT WORLD CHALLENGE AMERICA SEASON
Racers Edge Motorsports, the 2019 and 2020 SRO GT3 champions, will once again campaign an Acura NSX GT3 Evo in the 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS series, this time with three of the inaugural HPD GT3 Driver Academy graduates sharing driving duties over the course of the seven-event season.
After accumulating multiple championships with the Acura NSX GT3 Evo, Racers Edge Motorsports, who runs the Honda Performance Development (HPD) GT3 Driver Academy, has shifted its goals for this season to focus on the further professional development of the Academy students.
Taylor Hagler, Dakota Dickerson and Jacob Abel completed the four session HPD GT3 Driver Academy held during several months over 2020. Consequently, all three drivers have experience with the Racers Edge team and the Acura machine from the Academy program, but now all three will also experience GT3 racing for the first time.
GT World Challenge America will continue with the same race format as last season, with two 90-minute races in each weekend’s event, with two drivers sharing designated time in the car. Hagler will compete in the entire season in the Acura NSX GT3 Evo, with Abel and Dickerson sharing the wheel at alternating events. Dickerson will partner with Hagler to kick off the season at Sonoma Raceway.
Team principal Jon Mirachi is excited about this natural extension of the Academy curriculum. “All our students did great with the program last year, so we’re excited to continue to coach these drivers throughout the coming season and further develop their skills while we race. We’ll set goals for each driver for every event and track their progress over the year.”
Taylor Hagler competed in the full 2019 season in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with LA Honda World Racing in a Honda Civic Type R. She qualified on the pole at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where she and co-driver Ryan Eversley, also an HPD Racing driver and Academy instructor, finished on the second step of the podium, one of their five top-five results of the season. Hagler also drove the X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si in the 2019 SRO TC America series.
“I’m really looking forward to joining Racers Edge Motorsports in the Acura NSX GT3 Evo to continue all of the work we started in the 2020 NSX GT3 Academy,” said Hagler. “The team and Academy drivers built a great relationship last season and I think we will be ready to go from the start at Sonoma. I had my start in professional racing in the SRO in 2019 and it will be great to be back in the paddock for a full season effort in GT World Challenge America. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will be on our car this season and I am happy to represent this foundation with a great cause.”
Dakota Dickerson joins the GT3 ranks from two seasons in the IMSA Prototype Challenge series, where he earned the 2020 Vice Champion title with one win, a podium, and three top-five finishes over six races. Beginning his third year in IMPC, Dickerson finished on the second step of the podium at the 2021 season opening race during the Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway. Dickerson has an impressive resume from his experience in open-wheel racing. He was the 2019 F3 Americas Champion, and earned the 2018 champion title in the US Formula 4 series. A Driver Development scholarship winner from Bryan Herta Autosport Dickerson was also chosen to be one of two drivers to represent the United States overseas via the Team USA Scholarship.
"I'm incredibly excited to get the opportunity to get back in the Acura NSX GT3 Evo with Racers Edge Motorsports and to be paired up with fellow Academy driver, Taylor Hagler,” Dickerson said. “The HPD GT3 Academy provided us with a tremendous amount of support and feedback, and it will be good to put this to action in GT World Challenge America,” he added. “I can't wait to hit the track at Sonoma!"
Jacob Abel brings his open wheel background to the GT3 paddock, having competed in both the Formula Regional Americas Championship and Indy Pro 2000 series with Abel Motorsports. Abel secured fifth in the 2020 Formula Regional Americas Drivers Championship with multiple top-five results throughout the season in a Ligier-Honda machine. In his fifth year as a professional racer, he will also contest his second full season in Indy Pro 2000 for 2021 in addition to GT World Challenge commitments. Abel will join Hagler at Circuit of the Americas in May.
Abel echoes his teammates’ enthusiasm. "I'm thrilled to be back with the Racers Edge and HPD family for 2021. I cannot say enough good things about Jon Mirachi and his team, so to finally be able to compete with them is going to be an honor. The knowledge that Dakota, Taylor, Karl, and myself gained during the GT3 Academy in 2020 is invaluable and I can't wait to put it on display in GT3 competition,” he continued. “This season will not only be a place to display the things we've learned but to continue the learning process as well. I can't thank everyone enough for the opportunity and I can't wait to get on track.”
Racers Edge Motorsports will continue working with Acura Motorsports and Honda Performance Development (HPD), who will provide technical and trackside support for the Acura NSX GT3 Evo. This car will also be used in the second year of the HPD Racing GT3 Driver Academy set to run throughout 2021, with a similar format to the inaugural program and four new student recruits.
The Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS season begins March 5-7 at Sonoma Raceway. While the series will begin with a closed-paddock to fans in accordance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols, all races will be live streamed, with more information at www.gt-world-challenge-america.com and www.youtube.com/GTWorld.
RACERS EDGE EARNS SECOND CONSECUTIVE CHAMPIONSHIP IN SRO GT3 COMPETITION
The Racers Edge Motorsports #93 Acura Accelerated Service Acura NSX GT3 Evo with drivers Trent Hindman and Shelby Blackstock finished the 2020 season with five wins and two top-five results to earn the overall GT3 Championship in the SRO GT World Challenge America powered by AWS eries. The duo amassed more wins than any other competitors, while also racking up more fast laps and pole positions than the team's solid field of competitors. This title is the second consecutive GT3 championship for Racers Edge Motorsports , having won the 2019 Pro-Am championship in the MBRP Acura NSX GT3 Evo.
The final race of 2020 was 8-hours in length, including a three-hour makeup for the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park rounds canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The inclusion of the GTWCA field into the International GT Challenge resulted in a series finale with a much longer distance than the usual 90-minute races used throughout the season. Held on the road course at the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the team brought in open-wheel star, Robert Megennis to complete the required three-driver line-up. The trio drove flawlessly despite treacherous wet conditions in the first two hours. Unfortunately, the team suffered two left rear tire blow-outs, which lost several laps as a result and dropped the car to an ultimate 7th place finish overall. At the three-hour mark, Hindman and Blackstock ran P3 in the GTWCA field, securing the Team and Drivers' Championships, as well as the Manufacturers' Championship for Acura Motorsports.
A disappointing result for such a competitive group, but a top ten finish in a major international event like the IGTC Indy 8-hour is still an awesome accomplishment to go along with the overall season championship! Everyone is looking forward to 2021 and more race wins. Can the team make it three in a row?
HINDMAN AND BLACKSTOCK EARN DOUBLE CLASS WINS AT COTA; CLINCH SILVER CUP DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP
The #93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo took Silver Class honors in Rounds 9 and 10 of the 2020 SRO Motorsport GT World Challenge America series, as the driver pairing of Trent Hindman and Shelby Blackstock won Saturday’s and Sunday’s races at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
The wins sealed the season championship in the Silver category for the Blackstock and Hindman, giving the Acura NSX GT3 Evo a GT class championship for the second consecutive season, as the pair finished second overall in both races around the demanding Texas road course.
"They [race winners Martin Fuentes and Rodrigo Baptista] didn't put a wheel wrong the whole race and drove a heck of a race,” said Blackstock after finishing 6.7 seconds behind the leader on Saturday. “We will go back to the drawing board and hopefully put some setup changes on for tomorrow and go back at it.”
The #93 duo was reunited with the defending Pro/Am champion entry from a year ago as the #80 Racers Edge Acura NSX GT3 Evo returned to the track for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Defending Pro-Am champion Kyle Marcelli was joined in the cockpit of the #80 for the weekend by Zaid Ghandour, making his first start in the Racers Edge NSX.
On Sunday, Hindman and Marcelli saw as much of each other on the track as they did in the garage as the duo went literally wheel-to-wheel in the early stages of the race. The two Acuras battled with former Champ Car World Series drivers Jan Heylen and Ryan Dalziel for position prior to the mid-race driver change, which saw the #93 of Blackstock emerge in fourth place.
Blackstock wasted no time in making up ground, climbing into second with eight laps to go and coming to within seven seconds of the front running Ferrari at the end of the day.
"Overall, we are happy with two podiums this weekend,” Blackstock said. “So thankful for the Racers Edge team, they worked their tails off this weekend to get us on the podium. We'll take the points and look forward to Indy."
HINDMAN AND BLACKSTOCK EARN DOMINANT VICTORIES TO SWEEP ROAD AMERICA WEEKEND
The Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo continued its recent dominance of the SRO Motorsport World Challenge GT America series, as the Silver Class driver pairing of Trent Hindman and Shelby Blackstock were the overall winners in both Saturday’s and Sunday’s races at Road America.
Unlike the most recent Sonoma Raceway weekend – when the Acura duo won pole positions for both races – at Road America the Racers Edge Acura NSX started both events from the outside of the front row. But in each race, the twin-turbo NSX would claim the lead before the opening laps were half-over, and would remain in command for the remainder of the 45-minute runs.
Blackstock chased pole qualifier Indy Dontje to the starting line for Saturday’s race, and needed just three turns to take the lead. With an incident behind them, leading to a full-course caution, Blackstock made the move stick on the ensuing restart and the remainder of his stint. The crew smoothly executed the mid-race pit stop and driver change, and Hindman then widened the gap to nearly 40 seconds to earn a dominant victory.
Sunday’s race followed a similar script, with Hindman outdragging rival and pole qualifier Ryan Dalziel down the long Road America startline straight and into the opening turn. This time Hindman handed Blackstock a 12.5-second lead at the pit stop and driver change, and Blackstock extended it to 21 seconds at the finish.
BARKEY & MARCELLI TO MISS SONOMA, ROAD AMERICA DUE TO COVID-19 TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS
Unfortunately, the No 80 MBRP Acura NSX GT3 Evo will not be running at Sonoma Raceway due to the logistical difficulties with COVID-19 travel restrictions between Canada and the U.S., and with quarantine requirements in Canada. Both Martin Barkey and Kyle Marcelli are home and healthy, and still very much a part of our racing family. We hope to have them back at the track with us very soon.
UPDATE: Ziad Ghandour will join Kyle Marcelli behind the wheel for the series' return to Circuit of the Americas.
SRO GT WORLD CHALLENGE AMERICA RESTART SLATED FOR JULY AT VIRGINIA INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
SRO America has been working diligently to restart the season. We are pleased to announce we will return to the track at VIRginia International Raceway on a new date - July 9th - 12th, 2020. This event will run under the appropriate guidelines set forth by national and local authorities.
VIR will host the second race weekend of GT World Challenge America powered by AWS along with the debut of the GT Sports Club America series. This series features a mix of current and former GT3 homologated platforms as well as SRO’s new GT2 category. The sprint format designed for Bronze level drivers over the age of 40 will make host its first official event in North America.
Pirelli GT4 America (Sprint and SprintX) along with TC America are scheduled to complete three-races at VIR, with one round making up for canceled events at St Petersburg, Florida.
Teams contesting GT World Challenge America powered by AWS will join SRO’s global GT3 series, Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli, during the Indianapolis 8 Hour to end the season. The first three hours of the endurance race will count towards this championship to replace the canceled races at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
RACERS EDGE MOTORSPORTS TAKES DOUBLE VICTORY IN OPENING GT WORLD CHALLENGE AMERICA WEEKEND
Racers Edge Motorsports swept the GT World Challenge America powered by AWS opening weekend at Circuit of the Americas, beginning its title defense with a dominating weekend from drivers Trent Hindman and Shelby Blackstock in their No 93 Acura Accelerated Services Acura NSX GT3 Evo. The No 80 MBRP Acura NSX GT3 Evo, driven by team veterans Martin Barkey and Kyle Marcelli, finished in the top-five in both races.
Qualifying on Saturday presented a challenge with mixed weather conditions, with rain starting during the first qualifying session and forcing teams to switch to tire setup for their second qualifying drivers. Shelby Blackstock and Martin Barkey put our Acura NSX GT3 Evos in P2 and P6, respectively, on the grid for race 1, in a challenging 15-minutes on track.
Trent Hindman qualified the No 93 Acura Accelerated Services Acura NSX GT3 Evo on pole for race 2, on wets, while Kyle Marcelli threw down his own set of monster laps to start the No 80 MBRP Acura NSX GT3 Evo P4 overall.
With the weather once again dry for race 1, Blackstock battled with James Sofronas early in the race, finally taking P1 and a commanding lead going into the pit stops. Hindman showed his experience in the Acura NSX GT3 Evo, taking the checkered for his first win in GT World Challenge America, and earning Blackstock his first victory in the machine. The duo led the field by more than 21-seconds in the season-opening race.
Barkey had his own fight in mid-pack, and brought his Acura NSX GT3 Evo into the pit stop in P5. Kyle Marcelli took over behind the wheel, pushing hard to eliminate an 18-second gap in his closing stint, to finish a heartbreaking one-second from a podium in P4.
In Race 2 on Sunday, Trent Hindman took the car from pole to lead the field throughout his stint, handing the car off to Shelby Blackstock after a near flawless run, who put in his own impressive drive to the checkered flag. The drivers also recorded the fastest laps in each of the weekend's races.
Kyle Marcelli started in P4 behind the wheel of the No 80 MBRP Acura NSX GT3 Evo, then quickly shot up to P2 behind his teammate with a masterful move in Turn 1 in the starting seconds of the race. He came into the pits in second position, handing the Acura machine over to Martin Barkey after a super quick pit stop by the crew. Barkey held that position during his stint, showing great race pace, but two full-course cautions and multiple incidents resulting in contact from competitors forced Barkey to pit for a tire change. Marcelli and Barkey ultimately scored two top-five class finishes for the weekend overall.
RACERS EDGE MOTORSPORTS TO CAMPAIGN A SECOND
ACURA NSX GT3 EVO IN GT WORLD CHALLENGE AMERICA
Racers Edge Motorsports will campaign a second Acura NSX GT3 Evo in the GT World Challenge America powered by AWS series to be piloted by Acura Motorsports development drivers Trent Hindman and Shelby Blackstock.
Hindman and Blackstock, both silver rated drivers, will partner to compete in the Silver Cup class of the 13-round GT championship series. The team will continue working with Acura Motorsports and Honda Performance Development (HPD), who will provide technical and trackside support for the Acura NSX GT3 Evo at every round of the series and at official test events. The #93 car, in a bright red livery with black accents, will carry Acura Accelerated Service branding. This NSX machine will also be used in the inaugural HPD Racing GT3 Driver Academy program.
While Hindman and Blackstock are new to the Racers Edge program, both drivers bring a wealth of sportscar experience to the program.
Hindman enters his third year racing an Acura NSX GT3 Evo, winning the 2019 IMSA Weathertech GTD Championship with Mario Farnbacher and Meyer Shank Racing. He is driving the No 57 Acura NSX GT3 Evo in the 2020 IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup under the Heinricher Racing/MSR with Curb-Agajanian banner. Hindman is also a 2014 Continental Tire SportsCar Championship Series Grand Sport class champion and won the 2017 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North American and World Championships.
“I’m grateful for any opportunity to hop back into the NSX GT3 Evo especially for a full-time effort in GT World Challenge America competition,” Hindman said. “Racers Edge has success with the NSX GT3, and I’m excited to continue the momentum by bringing my knowledge and experience with the car to this team.”
Blackstock has a background in touring cars and single seaters, with several years of competition in both Indy Lights and Pro Mazda. He is contesting his second season in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series in a Honda Civic Type R, earning two TCR class wins at Daytona and Sebring and three podium finishes with co-driver Tom O’Gorman in 2019.
Blackstock is excited to take this next step in his career. “I am eager and appreciative for the opportunity in GT World Challenge America this season. With such a great lineup, we are set for success. I am really looking forward to turning my first laps in the Acura NSX GT3 Evo at COTA in two weeks.”
Hindman and Blackstock are both anticipating the opportunity to finally work together in their respective motorsports careers.
“Trent and I have been teammates before, back in 2014, and have raced against one another since we started in Skip Barber in 2010. I am confident we can build on our success working together,” said Blackstock.
Hindman echoes the sentiment. “Shelby and I have known each other for 10 years and have become great friends throughout our time in motorsports. I’m really looking forward to working with him and seeing his transition into the NSX GT3. I think he’ll bring a fresh perspective to the entire team.”
In 2019, Racers Edge Motorsports won the 2019 Pro/Am Drivers’ Championship in GT World Challenge America with drivers Martin Barkey and Kyle Marcelli, and will return the same pairing to this season’s competition along with the Hindman/Blackstock duo.
NEW HPD GT3 DRIVER ACADEMY FEATURES ACURA NSX GT3 EVO
Honda Performance Development (HPD) is pleased to announce the launch of the “HPD GT3 Driver Academy” that will enable qualified professional racers to accelerate their racing career via ‘on-track’ and ‘off-track’ skills training from experienced Acura NSX GT3 Evo drivers, HPD-supported teams, and HPD personnel.
Supporting driver development is a fundamental value of Acura Motorsports and HPD. The HPD GT3 Driver Academy represents the latest demonstration of this commitment. As talented drivers rise through the sports car developmental ladder, many find that reaching the next level is limited by access to in-vehicle/team experience, promotional ability, and paddock knowledge.
The program will include on-track racecraft coaching sessions in the championship winning Acura NSX GT3 Evo from drivers such as Ryan Eversley, Kyle Marcelli, Mario Farnbacher, and Dane Cameron, as well as off-track instruction relating to effective communication with team personnel and engineers, in addition to driver marketing insights and sponsor searches.
“This program is a natural fit for HPD, as we have seen the growth of the NSX GT3 Evo program and the abundance of talent coming through the developmental touring and sports car series,” said John Whiteman, Manager, HPD Commercial Motorsports. “We are pleased to provide a unique training program that can assist drivers in fully preparing them for GT3 competition.”
The program is available by application-only and is limited to four students per year. The program will include at least four on-track events in 2020, starting at Sebring Raceway in February. Each on-track session will be administered by the Racers Edge Motorsports team, which, with drivers Martin Barkey and Kyle Marcelli, captured the 2019 SRO World Challenge GT Pro/Am Driver Championship.
More details on the program are available here.
RACERS EDGE RETURNS TO DEFEND
GT WORLD CHALLENGE AMERICA TITLE IN 2020
Racers Edge Motorsports is excited to announce the team’s return to GT World Challenge America competition for the 2020 season to defend the GT3 Pro/Am Championship title.
Kyle Marcelli and Martin Barkey continue their partnership behind the wheel of the No 80 MBRP Acura NSX GT3 Evo in which the duo won the 2019 Pro/Am Drivers’ Championship. The team will also continue working with Honda Performance Development (HPD) and the Acura NSX GT3 Evo in the 2020 campaign.
Both drivers eagerly anticipate the team’s return to GT World Challenge America competition to defend their title.
“I look forward to returning to the wheel of the Acura NSX GT3 Evo,” said Kyle Marcelli. “The car is awesome, and HPD provides outstanding trackside support to help win races. We aim to extract the most from ourselves and the race car and do our best to achieve top points each weekend.”
“The Racers Edge team really came together, eager to deliver the best. Their attention to detail was key to our success. Martin did a great job in his rookie season of GT3 competition.”
Martin Barkey echoes his co-driver’s sentiment. “I’m excited to be racing the MBRP Acura NSX GT3 again. The Racers Edge team really know their stuff, Kyle always delivers the goods and the NSX just always seems ready to race.”
“We now have data, knowledge and preparation to our advantage that we didn’t have last year at this time. We have the right car, the best team, and the support required. We’re ready.”
In 2019, Racers Edge Motorsports earned two overall pole positions and three race wins, including the first victory for the new Acura NSX GT3 Evo package at Circuit of The Americas. Overall, Barkey and Marcelli finished on the podium nine times during the season. In addition to the Drivers’ title, the team finished second in the GT3 Pro/Am Team Championship.
“2019 was a fantastic debut season for our program,” Marcelli concluded. “Yet, we aim to make 2020 even better.”
The 2020 GT World Challenge America season kicks off March 6-8 at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, TX.