The RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3 team had the weekend it had been waiting for at Utah Motorsports Campus, scoring three top-five finishes and taking the new NSX supercar to Victory Lane for the first time in Pirelli World Challenge competition.
Saturday’s win was the 79th for Acura and RealTime Racing in PWC competition, but the first for the duo of Peter Kox and Mark Wilkins, as well as the first PWC win for the new NSX GT3. But Saturday was only Round 7 of the SprintX championship, and the 14th overall in the GT season, so the party hats had to be put away for Sunday’s eighth round of the SprintX format that features two drivers per car and a mid-race driver change in a 60-minute event.
The Acura NSX GT3s and Honda Performance Development didn’t succumb to any post-win hangovers Sunday. Although Kox and Wilkins fell victim to a cut tire and resulting unscheduled pit stop, Ryan Eversley and Tom Dyer came home with a second-place finish to post a season-best result for their #43 RealTime NSX.
“All in all, for the RealTime Acura team, this is a good result,” reported Kox. “We have two podiums in two races. It’s not so often that you can be so competitive in this series, and we were. That’s the dominant thing in my mind. We lost a podium on Sunday after starting up front, but I’m happy for my teammates, for RealTime and definitely for Acura Motorsports.”
Wilkins started second on Sunday, while Dyer chased him into the first turn after starting third. Both Acuras were hot on the heels of the pole sitting Ferrari of Daniel Mancinelli and Nicollo Schrio, but both Acura drivers realized very quickly that something was amiss in the #93.
“Right away, when it went green and we headed into Turn One, I tried to press the Ferrari, but the car was quick to let me know that the grip wasn’t there,” Wilkins reported. “It was obvious the tire was going down, and we didn’t have the grip on that right side. It was an unfortunate day after yesterday, getting that first win.”
Dyer immediately assessed the situation from the cockpit of the #43 and slipped into second to begin what was a race-long pursuit of the Ferrari.
“He [Wilkins] had a problem and got a little free coming onto the back straight,” recalled Dyer. “For him, it deteriorated from there, and for us, it allowed me to spring into second. I tried to chase down the leader, but as it turned out, we were just able to maintain the gap. We did the best we could today. I’m very pleased for the program, Acura, RealTime and everybody.”
The race never really developed a rhythm as multiple yellows kept the field bunched up through the entire 60 minutes. Dyer was able to maintain his second-place spot before handing the Acura NSX GT3 to Eversley, who had a hand in of one of the final cautions during an incident with Patrick Long, before settling for a season-best second place result.
“I tried to leave him (Long) room, but as I tracked out I think we nudged and I apologize,” said Eversley. “At the same time, this team deserved a podium for getting this car to where it is now. We’ll move forward and hopefully, get some more strong results to finish off the year.”
“All-in-all, it was a fantastic weekend for the Acura NSX GT3,” said NSX GT3 Project Leader Lee Niffenegger of Honda Performance Development. “Though we are disappointed with the puncture that put the #93 car out of contention [on Sunday], Tom [Dyer] and Ryan [Eversley] picked up the torch and came home second. Ryan had a go after the late restart and nearly stole away the win from the Ferrari that led the entire race.
“We are quite happy with the level of performance we are seeing now, as we head into the home stretch of the World Challenge season, and look forward to working with customers for the NSX GT3 in 2018. Obviously, the timing couldn't be better to show the car is competitive for both sprint and endurance races,” Niffenegger added.
|Video by||Honda Racing/HPD|
|Track||Utah Motorsports Campus|