Gradient Racing is working on the repair of its Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 to be ready for Sunday’s Rolex 24 at the Daytona qualifying race following an accident for Kyffin Simpson during one of the Roar sessions.
the no. 66 Acura, which Simpson shares with Marc Miller, Till Bechtolsheimer and Mario Farnbacher, suffered damage to the rear right side from two wall impacts after coming out of the kink in drizzly conditions on Saturday morning.
Miller told Sportscar365 that the team is replacing the oil pump and most parts on the rear of the car, while the engine’s condition has yet to be determined.
“It slid all the way back to hit the wall, and it hit the wall twice,” he said.
“It looked and still came back, then struck again. It caused a lot of damage to the right rear. When you have such an impact, it pushes everything in.
“We have to make sure that the gearbox and the engine are in order. You don’t just rush that together again.
“The engine is going to be inspected and the oil pump is broken, so it will be replaced.
“Basically anything you would do cosmetically, all the way down to the rear subframe. So the subframe has damage [but] we won’t know until they’ve figured this out and measured everything to see if this needs to be fixed.”
When Sportscar365 visited the Gradient garage on Saturday afternoon, crew members were applying a mold to determine how much the subframe had been altered.
Gradient missed the qualifying session that set the grid for Sunday’s 100-minute qualifying race, which in turn sets the grid for next weekend’s Rolex 24 in Daytona.
The Texan team hopes to make the start of the qualifying race, though Miller suggested it would only happen if it was fully prepared.
“The goal is to have it ready for the qualifying race without compromising on the quality of the preparation for the Rolex,” he said.
“If we feel like we can’t convey what we would do for the Rolex on the track and then be able to develop the car further and get a good seat time, then there really is no point in doing it.
“You might as well do everything right the first time and we’ll start again on Thursday.
“Things like this have happened before. We hate that it’s our car – we were all really happy with how it was, so now we’d just be happy to get it where it was. But we still have to keep developing.
“The hardest thing about this is how hard the crew is working to make it happen. But there still needs to be a mindset that once that’s done, there’s a laundry list of items we need to complete for all the competitive elements of the event.
“And now we’re delayed by a full day, but hopefully that’s it.”
Gradient Racing skips Saturday’s two-hour overnight practice session, with all setup and strategic work being postponed until the Rolex 24 race week as time is devoted to repairing the car.
“I have friends in the paddock who will be doing seven laps in night practice, but during that time they are doing other things: system checks, pit stop practices, brake changes,” Miller said.
“Those are the things we will miss and do next week. The good news is that Andris [Laivins, team manager] last year experienced this race with a podium place on the box, working with strategy.
“We’ve had accidents for the past 10 years. It’s not like we’re immune to it. Here’s what the crew does: they get the car back together and the drivers get in, and we just move on.
“The downside is that we just lose some time keeping up with the same thing with everyone.
“I’d like to think we’re not disadvantaged, but every second that we can’t work on something is a disadvantage.”