Gradient Racing announced Tuesday morning (Jan. 3) that the team will race full-time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the first time in 2023. For their first full-time campaign, Katherine Legge and Sheena Monk will drive the No. 66 Acura NSX GT3 Evo22. HPD factory racer Mario Farnbacher and Marc Miller will be part of the team in Daytona.
Sponsorship will be provided by JG Wentworth, a financial services company that allows consumers to convert long-term payments into lump sums. The sponsor has backed Monk’s previous efforts in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
“I’m so excited to be back in the Acura family,” Legge stated in the press release. “My transition to GT racing came in the Acura NSX GT3 and I have some of my fondest memories from those years. I was involved in the platform’s development and I’m proud of what we achieved with HPD, especially giving the car its first global win at Detroit in 2017.”
Legge drove Acuras affiliated with Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian for three years, 2017-2019. In that time, Legge earned four class victories and finished second in GTD points in 2018. She comes to the team after racing a Porsche 911 GT3 R for Hardpoint alongside team owner/driver Rob Ferriol in the GTD class. In seven starts, Legge’s best finish was a seventh at Long Beach.
As for Monk, Daytona will mark her IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut. She is looking forward to a new experience.
“My plans for 2023 were rather uncertain, which makes this feel like even more of a whirlwind,” Monk stated. “I randomly reached out to Katherine to discuss something unrelated – ideas started floating around and things began falling into place. JG Wentworth’s continued support, combined with Gradient’s commitment to furthering my development, has allowed me to reach my goal of IMSA WeatherTech competition, where I will proudly drive the HPD Acura NSX GT3 Evo22.”
Monk comes to Gradient Racing after spending the last three years running full-time in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. In 2020 and 2021, Monk raced a McLaren 570S GT4 for the Quebec-based Motorsports In Action alongside Corey Lewis (2020) and Spencer Pigot (2021). Monk earned a victory in 2020 at Road America and had two top 10 finishes in points.
Last season saw Monk move to TGR Infinity Autosport to race a new Toyota GR Supra GT4 with Kyle Marcelli. However, that car was totaled in a crash at Sebring in March. The duo finished out the season at PF Racing in a Ford Mustang GT4. Driving the two very different cars, Monk and Marcelli finished eighth in Grand Sport points with a best finish of second at VIR.
Farnbacher anchored Gradient Racing’s squad that won the GTD class in the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta back in October. It was the team’s first-ever WeatherTech victory. In addition to the victory, Farnbacher also scored a second-place finish with Miller at Long Beach in the team’s only sprint race of 2022.
Miller has a long relationship with the team that dates back to their days in what is now Pilot Challenge. When the team first acquired an NSX for a part-time schedule, Miller was the first driver to drive it alongside Till Bechtolsheimer. The press release does not indicate which driver will compete in the four endurance races and which driver will just run Daytona, or if additional drivers could be part of the lineup later in the year.
Gradient Racing has competed part-time in WeatherTech since 2018. Originally, they ran a couple of races before leaving for SRO America. Upon returning to IMSA, the team ran a Sprint Cup schedule in 2020 and 2021 before switching to a Michelin Endurance Cup schedule for last season.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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