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Meyer Shank Racing names pair of 2019 IMSA champions to driver lineup in 2020

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Matt McMurry, who won the LMP2 championship in IMSA in 2019, will join Meyer Shank Racing’s GTP championship squad in 2020. There were only two full-season entries in LMP2 this past season, but McMurry gives team owners Mike Shank and Jim Meyer two reigning championship drivers in the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 EVO for the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

McMurray joins championship driver Mario Farnbacher in that car. Farnbacher and Trent Hindman won the GTD championship this past season.

“I’m really happy with the lineup that we have in the 86 Acura for next year and am looking forward to building on what we accomplished this season,” team owner Shank said. “Mario has done a stellar job and he has been a big asset to this team and getting the championship. Having Matthew come back onboard is also very exciting. He’s had plenty of seat time in the NSX over in Europe this year and he should be able to find his feet quickly over here.

“As always it’s an honor to continue our work with Acura Motorsports and HPD. It’s going on four years now and they have been great to work with and we hope that we can continue to deliver results for them next year.”

Farnbacher returns to defend his GTD title, the team’s first Sports Car championship after it began IMSA Sports Car racing in 2004.

Farnbacher will rejoin the Ohio-based team for the third straight season. Farnbacher’s first year at MSR (2018) saw him take on endurance duties in the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3. The German ace was also recruited to make two starts in the team’s sister No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 at Detroit and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca which saw him, and Katherine Legge respectively take a victory and third place finish.

Farnbacher’s role expanded in 2019 with a full season drive alongside Trent Hindman. The pair won the Sahlen’s Six Hours of Watkins Glen and claimed four additional podium finishes on the way to clinching the IMSA GTD Team and Driver Championships at the season finale Motul Petit Le Mans. The Championship was the first full season professional championship victory for Meyer Shank Racing and Farnbacher.

“I’m excited to be back with the Meyer Shank Racing guys next year,” Farnbacher said. “We had a great 2019 season and we will head into 2020 with the same goal. I’m looking forward to working with Matthew, I know he drove the Acura NSX GT3 EVO in Europe in the Blancpain Endurance series, so he has experience with the car. I have raced against him and know him from the paddock and I’m looking forward to getting to work with him. As always with a new driver pairing, we will have to get to know each other a little bit better since we have never driven together but hopefully, we can do that during some testing which will start soon.”

McMurry is the newcomer and even though he only had to beat one other car to win the LMP2 championship, a title is a title and he won that title.

McMurry was the youngest driver to start and finish the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans at just 16 years old, McMurry had two Prototype starts with MSR in 2015 at Daytona and the Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

McMurry’s talent expands across the sports car racing field, competing in everything from Prototypes, to Prototype Challenge machines, to GT cars. The 2019 season saw McMurry claim six wins in IMSA LPM2 competition on the way to winning the LMP2 championship. In addition to competing stateside, McMurry drove an Acura NSX GT3 EVO in the European Blancpain Endurance series in 2019 with race outings at Circuit de Barcelona, 24 Hours of Spa, Circuit Paul Ricard, Silverstone and Monza.

McMurry’s work with HPD extends beyond the competition on track, having just completed a successful 10-week engineering internship with HPD.

“It’s an honor to be selected to join the Meyer Shank Racing team again,” McMurry said. “I can’t imagine a better place to be for the 2020 IMSA season than in an Acura NSX GT3 EVO at MSR. It’s a perfect fit coming from a great run in the NSX in the Blancpain Endurance Championship, a successful internship at Honda Performance Development, and an IMSA LMP2 championship. I’m excited to be driving with Mario this year too, he’s a great guy and I think we’ll make a good team. It’s not often you get two IMSA champions in one car! The Roar Before the 24 is quickly approaching and I couldn’t be more excited.”

The 2020 IMSA season will be the fourth consecutive season of IMSA competition for MSR and Acura Motorsports. Having transitioned from the Prototype class in 2017, MSR has fostered the progress of the Acura NSX GT3 to earn five wins, five pole positions,12 podium finishes and two championship titles with Acura, Acura Motorsports and HPD.

Meyer Shank Racing continues to finalize plans for the 2020 season for the team’s IMSA and IndyCar Series programs and will have additional updates in the coming weeks.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).