GT3 / 03 April 2023
NSX GT3 Evo 22 snatches dramatic last-corner win at Sonoma
The NSX GT3 Evo 22 scored an incredible last-corner victory at Sonoma as Racers Edge Motorsports with WTR Andretti Autosport opened the GT World Challenge America season in the most dramatic of styles.
The 2022 Pro-Am class champions Ashton Harrison and Mario Farnbacher, who have moved up to the Pro division this year, were in determined mood after what looked like a straightforward podium run became anything but.
Farnbacher had qualified on Pro class pole on Saturday morning and led the category through the opening quarter of Sunday's second 90-minute race.
But a reckless punt from behind - for which his assailant was given a drive-through penalty - caused the German to spin back to 11th spot overall and fourth in Pro.
Coming in to hand over to Harrison just before the mandatory pit window proved an astute tactical move, given the large amount of clear track afforded to Farnbacher.
She exited the pits third in Pro and gradually used all the grip afforded by the JAS Motorsport-built NSX to reel in the leaders; hitting the front with 10 minutes left.
With fading tyres, she lost the lead with just half a lap left, but simply refused to be defeated and dived past her rival for first place at the final braking zone of the race; emerging ahead and holding on by 0.3 seconds at the finish line for the class win.
The previous day had featured a fightback that was almost as impressive. Having become embroiled in an on-track battle that resulted in her being blocked on several occasions, Harrison started fifth in Pro and 14th overall.
But a strong opening stint brought her to the pit window in seventh place and (fifth in Pro) and Mario was able to continue the progress to secure the final podium position in sixth spot outright.
Those results mean Harrison and Farnbacher leave California with an early three-point lead in the Drivers' Championship while Racers Edge head the Teams' standings.
The car was competing as part of the NSX GT3 Customer Racing Programme; a global collaborative project with JAS Motorsport responsible for assembly of all cars.
Honda Performance Development (HPD) and M-TEC handle sales and technical support in North America and Japan respectively, with JAS responsible for these areas across the rest of the world.