- Double-AERO podium in GTD with Michael Shank Racing and Scuderia Corsa
- Debut Le Mans run for United Autosports Ligier
DETROIT, Michigan (June 5, 2017) - There is no tougher place to make your name than the streets of Detroit, but this weekend saw two teams stamp their authority on the event as RLL Racing driver Graham Rahal swept the Verizon IndyCar double-header in Detroit in the No. 15 SoldierStrong/TurnsforTroops.com Dallara/Honda/Firestone entry.
A breakthrough IMSA WeatherTech GTD victory for Michael Shank Racing with the team’s new Acura NSX GT3 machine added to the incredible run of success in the Motor City for teams that utilize AERO™ Advanced Paint Technology.
Both teams were among the first to partner with AERO, which not only provides unmatched visual quality, but also provides a game-changing light weight outer layer that is both strong and extremely aerodynamic. The positive effects also extend to the environment, as AERO is nearly VOC-free, and is entirely PVC-free, a massive differentiator with traditional paint.
After notching his third career pole in IndyCar qualifying, Rahal led a convincing 55 of 70 laps on his way to his fifth career victory and third podium appearance in the Detroit Grand Prix.
“I don't know that I've ever felt that confident in my entire career going into a race day as we did today,” said Rahal about the first race. “I just felt like if everything went well, that we were going to be very hard to beat. And that proved to be true today.”
With the event being unlike any other Verizon IndyCar Series weekend with two races in one weekend, Rahal was back at work on Sunday morning to qualify third for the second race. Once again, he was able to use his flat out speed and some excellent execution from his RLL Racing team to score the first-ever Detroit Double with a weekend sweep.
“It was a great day, I’m really proud to get another win for the United Rentals guys, Turns For Troops, PennGrade, Steak n’ Shake, Hyatt, Fifth Third Bank, Honda – everybody that makes this possible,” said Rahal after withstanding a late race red flag and restart with just two laps to go. “It’s a special day for us. We’re the first one to win the double (in Detroit) and it means a lot.”
The big weekend moved Rahal to sixth in the series championship point standings with a total of 251.
Saturday also saw the bumpy street circuit play host to Round 5 of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, as one of the first teams to employ AERO™ Advanced Paint Technology was once again in victory lane, this time breaking through with an all-new racing program.
After starting on the front row and then using a bold set of pit stop calls to lock out the lead, Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian won the GTD class with drivers Katherine Legge and Andy Lally bringing a history-making win for the Acura Motorsports racing program, which only launched with the new Acura NSX GT3 five races ago. The sister No. 86 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 of Ozz Negri and Jeff Segal finished fifth to underscore the performance gains made by the team with the all-new package.
“I'm just so grateful that our team, Michael Shank Racing, gets the win for the Acura brand today,” said Shank. “You could almost feel it around this place, everyone was really, really calm before the race, it was almost too quiet! We are really making advancements on the car and I am just so thrilled for the team. Everyone from the drivers, to the crew guys, to the engineers, and all the partners like AERO that have been on board with us through the years, this is just outstanding.”
Adding to the AERO celebrations in Detroit was the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Alessandro Balzan and Christina Nielsen, who continued their strong run of podium performances with a run to second place on Saturday.
It was an active weekend around the globe for AERO squads, as United Autosports was in action with their Ligier JSP217-Gibson getting its first-ever laps around Le Mans for the official Test Day. Sharing the No. 32 United Autosports entry, drivers Hugo de Sadeleer, Will Owen and Filipe Albuquerque worked through the one-day event to prepare for the huge endurance classic in two weeks’ time.