Alton, Va. (26 August 2019) – The Heinricher Racing crew fought back from a tire puncture due to first-lap damage at the Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) on Sunday. Unfortunately, a trip into the turn nine wall ended the race early for Katherine Legge and Alice Powell.
The weekend started strong with Powell qualifying fifth in the No. 57 Caterpillar Acura NSX GT3 on Saturday. At the start of Sunday’s race, Powell held her position down the front stretch in the all-GT field. Unfortunately, contact in turn one from the No. 96 BMW forced her into pit lane with a left-rear flat.
Once back on track, Powell focused on consistent lap times and rejoined the the lead group after a full-course caution bunched the field back together. She pitted under yellow on lap 13 from 11th and reentered the track five positions higher in sixth.
Powell raced the No. 57 Heinricher Racing Caterpillar Acura back into the top 10 before pitting on lap 30 and handing the car over to Legge.
Unfortunately, as Legge came up to race speed, she felt a vibration develop in the car. She was able to maintain a strong pace as the team worked to diagnose the issue. However, with just over 20-minutes to go, a rear-tire failure sent Legge off track through the Esses and into the tire wall. While she emerged unscathed from the car, the No. 57 Heinricher Racing Caterpillar Acura retired from the race early.
The Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Racing Acura will head to Laguna Seca on September 13-15 for the next round of IMSA competition.
“We brought a lot of determination into VIR to overcome our issues of the past few races. And, we brought a lot of excitement to debut Alice Powell in her first IMSA race here in the US with Heinricher Racing. Alice adapted quickly to everything she was experiencing for the first time and handled it all like a pro. Her and Katherine Legge did a fantastic job as a driving team all weekend. Unfortunately in motor racing, unforeseen mechanical failure is, at times, a part of it. I am relieved that Katherine is OK from such a difficult hit into the tire barrier. We are grateful to everyone that came to Katherine’s aid and to the entire MSR team for their quick reaction to the situation. We will push forward as we head next to the iconic Laguna Seca racetrack and another great race in Monterey, California.”
“That was one of the toughest races we have had. We received some damage early but Alice had a fantastic opening stint as she raced back up through the field. The early contact hurt the rear so we were struggling with a loose car the entire race. On the second set of tires there was a vibration that I was dealing with and then we had a tire failure. I couldn’t control the car at the top of the Esses. It is one of those places on track where you carry a lot of speed so I went into the wall quite hard. That crash is a testament to how strong the Acura NSX is and how good VIR’s track safety structures are. I have to thank the safety crew for doing a great job to get to me quickly as well. These things make us stronger so we will be back ready to fight at Laguna Seca.”
“It wasn’t a great way to end my first IMSA race but what really matters is that Katherine (Legge) is ok. The first handful of laps were quite frantic. I had contact from behind which caused a slow tire leak and I had to come in. We were in a good position but I got boxed in behind the McLaren coming into the pits so we lost a few spots there. The car felt good and we had the pace. It’s a shame that Katherine (Legge) had a vibration during her stint and was struggling with the rear of the car. It is an unfortunate way to end but also glad my co-driver is not hurt.”