Daytona Beach, Fla. (27 January 2019) – After overcoming several setbacks, the all-female No. 57 Heinricher Racing & Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo completed the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Sunday with a 13th place result.
The 57th running of the Rolex 24 was the first in history to end early after being called at the 23 hour and 50-minute mark for precarious weather conditions which left standing water on the track.
The Jackie Heinricher-led effort paired Katherine Legge, Christina Nielsen, Bia Figueiredo (Ana Beatriz) and Simona De Silvestro for the Rolex 24’s first all-female entry in 25 years. With 24 hours of racing ahead, Figueiredo made her first-ever Rolex 24 start, laying down clean laps prior to a lap 64 hand off to Neilsen. The two-time IMSA champion showed her strength with a strong run on the lead lap to best position the team for pit strategy.
One of several upswings of the race was highlighted by Legge’s ambitious drive to the front. After receiving the car in 11th, Legge charged to the front of the field and brought the No. 57 machine to third before handing the car off to De Silvestro.
The Rolex 24 can throw several obstacles at teams and drivers, but history was made as Sunday’s race finish was the first ever to end early due to weather. The early hours of the morning saw the rain start, with De Silvestro taking the first stab at the Acura’s rain set up. As conditions deteriorated, the first red flag was deployed, lasting for one hour and 45-minutes.
De Silvestro was positioned for the restart and managed to keep control in the varying conditions for a lap 550 handoff to Legge. With conditions that were near impossible to maneuver through, Legge suffered damage after an off course excursion saw the front of the car make contact with the wall. Bringing the No. 57 back to the garage, the crew quickly made repairs and had Legge back out on track for the finish.
The final red flag was thrown at 12:39pm on Sunday and unfortunately the field would not see the green flag again as the No. 57 team settled with 13th.
Although the result was not reflective of the team’s strength or pace, the teamwork and strength that was produced was exemplary.
The next round of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition will head to Sebring International for the 12 Hours of Sebring which will run in conjunction with the World Endurance Championship, ‘1000 Miles of Sebring.’
“We ran a respectable hard-fought race at Daytona. We finished the race after watching many cars in the field wreck during incredibly difficult rain conditions. Ultimately ending the race with a red flag for only the second time in the race’s history. The Heinricher Racing No. 57 Acura ran an amazing race for the 57th running of Daytona. My teammates are extraordinary talented drivers, the entire effort from drivers and the entire MSR organization represents the true definition of teamwork and we look forward to our Heinricher Racing Caterpillar car continuing to run towards the IMSA championship with our next step at Sebring.”
“I am so proud of all of these women for what they have accomplished this weekend. And thank you to Jackie Heinricher who worked so hard to get this effort together. Results aside, these women raced for a greater cause, and that was a win in itself. The positive response from the fans to this effort has been overwhelming. This was probably one of the toughest races in my entire career but all of these women pushed and stayed out of trouble when they needed to. This is only the first race of the season for the Heinricher Racing / MSR team, and we have a lot more to show for the rest of the season.”
“I am extremely proud of the effort from the entire Heinricher Racing Caterpillar MSR squad. It was not the result we had hoped for or deserved, but the rain made things a lottery… Huge thanks to the team, who performed flawlessly as always, and the other drivers who did a stellar job considering the treacherous conditions. Also big shout out to our spotters who were instrumental in helping us through the monsoon! Kudos to Jackie who not only put this amazing bunch of professionals together, but also for staying up with us the whole time and leading from the front!”
“It’s disappointing to have a situation like we had so close to the end of the race, but it’s super tricky conditions out there and it could happen to anyone. Here, if you make one mistake, there are high consequences. Props to the Heinricher Racing and Meyer Shank Racing guys for getting the car back out on track. We were able to collect points for the rest of the season and I know that one or two points can matter in the end – I’ve been there. I’m so thankful for Jackie and Mike for bringing me on board for this weekend. After competing against Mike’s cars I know that he runs a very professional team and I experienced that this weekend.”
“This has been an amazing experience. Being able to do this big endurance race with Meyer Shank Racing and Heinricher Racing with Caterpillar surprised me in many good ways. They are incredibly professional with the team’s focus and Mike’s (Shank) leadership. The team and crew are just amazing. They gave me the confidence to qualify the No. 57 car and start the race on Saturday. This rain has been crazy and something we could have never imagined. We got caught with this weather but it could have been any one of those cars out there because of the unpredictability but Katherine (Legge) is very experienced in the car. Now time to recoup and get to more races this year. I’m happy to be standing here today. I am thankful and happy to have been here and learn everything that I did.”
Simona De Silvestro:
“The rain was pretty crazy and it was really hard to see anything out there. As a racer, you always want it to go green, but it just became dangerous. There was more and more water coming, more rivers, and it was hard because the tires were really low on temperature. I putted around, following everyone but you can’t really do much. For my first Rolex 24 Hour it was pretty fun. The Heinricher Racing and Meyer Shank Racing team was great to work with. It was unfortunate to have that off at the end, but the guys worked so hard to get the car back out on track and they really gave it their all to keep us running to the finish.”