A strong debut at Circuit of the Americas showed the speed and success this Silver pairing could have for the 2020 season. Shelby Blackstock stepped up into the Acura NSX GT3 Evo alongside Trent Hindman who's acheived great success in the platform already. The duo went two-for-two, taking the overall win in both GT World Challenge America powered by AWS rounds. Let's learn more about them with this week's Driver Download.
Team: Racers Edge Motorsports
Car: #93 Acura NSX GT3 EVO
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Favorite Track: North America = COTA/Daytona, Global = Nürburgring
Daily Driver: Patiently waiting on an Acura… until then, a 2017 F350 Lariat Dually
Dream Car: Acura NSX
Racing Hero: Dan Wheldon, Justin Wilson, Scott Dixon
Favorite Food: Wild game, Indian
Favorite Hobby: Golf, outdoorsman
Occupation: Self-employed/ Racing Driver/ Driver Coach
Favorite Vacation Spot: Laucala, Fiji
Pets names: Watson & Belle
First Car: 2006 Ford Mustang
Favorite Movie: Tropic Thunder/Walk Hard
Favorite TV Show: The Office
Hometown: Ocean Township, New Jersey
Favorite Track: Road America
Daily Driver: Ford F-150
Dream Car: Acura NSX
Racing Hero: Schumi
Favorite Food: Bacon
Favorite Hobby: Jiu Jitsu
Occupation: Racing Driver
Favorite Vacation Spot: What’s vacation?
First Car: MazdaSpeed 3
Favorite Movie: Pulp Fiction or Talladega Nights
Favorite TV Show: Not really into TV
Tell us more about the season opener at COTA?
Shelby: Looking back at COTA, it was amazing from start to finish! To kick off the weekend, Trent Hindman and I drove the Acura NSX Pace Car from LA to Austin. We made it in just enough time to secure a pole, front row start, and two wins under our belts! Trent and I had a good time reminiscing about the event weekend while at the airport waiting to fly home.
Trent: COTA was a massive success from the Racer’s Edge Motorsports and Acura Motorsports perspective. I suppose I was just fortunate and of course happy to be the guy plugged into the driver’s seat, but overall there’s no complaining about a pole position and two race victories, especially considering the fact that it was Shelby’s first weekend in the NSX GT3. The most fun part of it all was the progression in our performance from Thursday testing all the way through to Race 2 on Sunday. We did nothing but continue improving ourselves and the car, and ultimately, we have the REM team and Honda Performance Development to thank for that effort.
How did you get started in racing?
Shelby: I was serving my first year of college before I realized that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I have always been fascinated by cars/motorsports, so I attended the Bob Bondurant’s Driving School at the end of the school year- it was all downhill from there. I progressed to the Skip Barber Racing Series, and continued to advance (USF2000, Pro Mazda, Indy Lights, some IndyCar testing, IMSA, and SRO).
Trent: My foray into motorsport came purely as a hobby with my Dad, who himself was not a racer but a massive race fan and car guy, and it all began on two wheels at the age of four. Ultimately my Mother decided motocross was too dangerous, so the next best thing to keep the addiction alive was karting, after being a washed-up motocross rider at the ripe old age of eight. It just snowballed from that point forward, and now 16 years later, I’m fortunate that the activity that brought my Dad and me together as a child has now become my career.
What is your favorite racing memory?
Shelby: I know you’re going to find this hard to believe, but COTA is my favorite race weekend- ever, and here’s why: Growing up, my dad owned a 1993 NSX. I remember a lot of drives in that car, learning the fundamentals of a manual transmission. I thought it was the coolest car there ever was. Who would have guessed that I would eventually sweep my debut race weekend in the NSX GT3 EVO? That’s hard to beat!
Trent: There’s so many to choose from - even the really bad moments have great lessons that really shaped the person I am today. I’d say at this point the best moment was winning the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen last year. That race was my first major endurance race victory (after coming close a few times prior in 2018), my first win with the Acura NSX GT3, and ultimately what put the MSR team, Mario Farnbacher, and me on the map as GTD championship contenders.
Tell us more about your helmet design?
Shelby: Savage Designs does my helmets and the design has stayed the same over the years. The helmet has a pretty aggressive/flashy look. I took some inspiration from Sebastian Vettel’s 2013 Singapore Gran Prix helmet. It had reflective flecks that shone really cool under the light, and I liked that- so naturally, I had to have it. I just made mine red and gold! The two focus points on my helmet are my bilateral SBR logos, and on the back- two tributes to my forever heroes, Dan Wheldon and Justin Wilson.
Trent: My helmet has gone through a few iterations, but this latest one is by far my favorite. Mr. Joe Koenig and Trim-Tex Drywall Products have been arguably the most influential and loyal supporters of my career to date, and the helmet design is based on the Trim-Tex livery run on countless GT cars and drag bikes over the last two decades. It’s heavily based on the American Flag, since Trim-Tex products are 100% made in America, and I love America, so it’s a good fit. Also important to note that the Arai GP6-RC provides the perfect canvas in terms of both form and function, especially for my longtime friend TJ Koyen at Octane Visual to work his magic.
Can you tell us something interesting or a secret talent of yours?
Shelby: I’ve golfed since I was three and is one of my biggest hobbies. I’m really into the outdoors; hunting, fishing, target shooting. I have a fishing trip planned with the legendary angler, Bill Dance! Of course, when COVID-19 calms down…
Trent: I am not a talented martial artist by any means, but Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu have really become a way of life for me following a scrap with one of my buddies a few years ago. I got my ass handed to me, and that in itself was enough motivation to learn something that could be functional when needed but also know how to avoid an event like that entirely. I cannot recommend trying a martial art enough, as it’s a real humbling eye opener. And yes, the buddy who beat me up is still a great friend of mine.
Three people you would invite to dinner (living or dead)?
Trent: 1. Jocko Willink - fascinating character in general. 2. Chuck Yeager - a man with balls the size of planet Earth itself. 3. Michael Schumacher - my racing hero.
Shelby, your mother is a music star and actress. You are blazing your own path in professional race. But, was there ever a thought to follow in her footsteps in music or acting? What advise has she given you in the pursuit of your career?
My Dad has joked in the past that I did not inherit a single music gene in my DNA code. When I was young, it was always assumed that I would follow the family business of managing, but that wasn’t my story. The best advice my mom ever gave was to follow my passion and give it my all- or else, I would always regret it. So here I am. I am the modern day, male, Fancy. She said: “Here’s your one chance, Shelby, don’t let me down.”
Trent, you started racing karts at eight-years-old and have won multiple championships throughout your youth as well as into your ascent into the professional ranks. But our collective pause to stop the spread of Covid-19 has meant you can focus on the renovation of your 1200 sq. ft. ranch house that you bought in 2018. Tell us about that project.
Well the release of info about my house only came around because I have nothing else to post about right now! No, in all reality I’m getting close to the end of an almost two yearlong project and I’d like to share where I started and how I got to that end point. Unless you have a limitless checkbook, home renovations tend to take much, much longer than what anyone ever expects. Demolition, paperwork, permits, drawings, addressing unseen problems, etc. all take so much time, the actual build itself isn’t that bad, and that’s what I’d like to share with anyone interested or considering a project such as this.
One thing I’m realizing as a homeowner is that you’re never actually done working on it. Sure, you might not be doing a major project, but there’s ALWAYS something that needs to be done.