(Photos courtesy Acura Motorsports)

Acura, Michael Shank Racing unveil Rolex 24, WeatherTech NSX GT3 liveries

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Michael Shank Racing and Acura Motorsports have unveiled the two NSX GT3 race liveries they’ll campaign during next month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.

The cars will also be front and center for MSR’s efforts in the 2017 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and, per a team media release, “will feature striking ‘mirror image’ black, grey and white graphics on the team’s pair of Acura NSX GT3 entries.”

Check them out:

* First is the No. 86 car, which pays homage to Acura’s 30th anniversary in sports car racing. Similar to the paint scheme it first carried in 1986, the nose starts out with a black front before morphing into a grey cross hatch pattern and ending with a white scheme at the rear of the car.

msr-nsx-gt3-86Piloting the No. 86 will be Verizon Indianapolis 500 winner and former IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, two-time GT class champ and 2014 24 Hours of Daytona winner Jeff Segal, fellow IMSA regular Ozz Negri of Brazil and American driver Tom Dyer.

* The No. 93 team, which commemorates 1993, the year Honda Performance Development was founded, will carry a paint scheme with a look reverse to that of the No. 86, starting with a white front that eventually morphs to a black rear deck.

msr-nsx-gt3-93
The No. 93 driver lineup will IndyCar star Graham Rahal, sports car specialists Andy Lally and British racer Katherine Legge, and endurance specialist Mark Wilkins.

In addition, both cars will carry splashes of orange, which dates back to Acura Motorsports’ first entry into IMSA racing in the 1990s, as well as green, which indicates the cars are GT Daytona class entries.

“The debut of the Acura NSX GT3 at the prestigious Rolex 24 will mark the return of the Acura brand to IMSA sports car competition,” said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development and Acura Motorsports. “We’ve aimed to race the NSX in North America since the car was just a sketch on paper, and we couldn’t be more excited than to debut at Daytona.”

Both MSR teams will take part in the “Roar Before the 24” IMSA open test on January 6-8, at DIS.

The opening round of the 12-race 2017 WeatherTech championship, the Rolex 24, takes place Jan. 28-29.

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Hamilton, Red Bull teammates both go to NASA before USGP

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
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One of the more intriguing United States Grand Prix adventures occurred on Wednesday, as both Lewis Hamilton and the pair of Red Bull Racing teammates, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, all went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston – in separate sessions – before heading onto Austin.

Hamilton posted on his Instagram story on Wednesday that he’d “quit his day job in a second” to work at NASA and become an astronaut, and the unbridled enthusiasm spoke to the three-time Formula 1 World Champion’s love of different life aspects entirely outside of racing.

“(I) had an incredible day yesterday, having a bit of a comedown today,” Hamilton said today at the FIA Press Conference. “I was just buzzed all day yesterday because it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. It’s always something I’ve been fascinated about, space and space travel particularly.

“So to actually go there… and I had a million questions. I’m sure the guy got fed up with me. I asked a lot of questions and I got to see a lot of great things, some of the new technology they are working on and yeah, I want to go back.”

The Mercedes AMG Petronas team posted a gallery of Hamilton’s adventure on its website, linked here, and a few samples are below.

As for the Red Bull pair, the young duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen were equally awestruck by the experience.

“There really are a lot of similarities between this and F1, just the technology alone,” Ricciardo said. “I had a guest come to a race last year, when they got into the garage they were like: ‘this is like a space station’. We went to mission control here and it’s really like what we have in the Ops Room in Milton Keynes. Even the safety technology is similar. The astronauts go through the same measurements, a similar kind of HANS device etc. It’s really cool.”

Verstappen added, “There are quite a lot of comparisons, if you really want to talk about it we could go on for an hour! The control center looks pretty similar to ours. We share a lot of the same technology. It was really interesting for us to see that and I bet it would be the same if they could see ours.”

Here’s a link to Red Bull’s gallery and some teaser shots below.