Long-time SRO competitors Compass Racing enter new territory with the debut of an Acura NSX GT3 Evo for the 2021 season of SRO's Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS. Drivers Rodrigo Sales and Matt McMurry have been tapped as pilots for the seven-weekend championship, which features two 90-minute races each weekend.
The move marks the first time Compass Racing will race in the top tier of the GT-based championship, after having won in Pirelli GT4 America, TCR and Touring Car classes. The addition of the NSX to the team’s 2021 programs rekindles a very successful relationship with Honda Performance Development (HPD), which produced nine Manufacturer Championships, six Driver and Team Championships, and three Rookie of the Year trophies from 2006 through 2015.
“We’re truly thrilled to introduce the No. 77 Acura NSX GT3 Evo as the newest platform Compass Racing competes with,” enthused Team Owner Jill Beck. “We’re equally excited to enter the GT World Challenge America seres for the first time, with two tremendous drivers. It’s an exciting new chapter for our team, and we are so pleased to once again be working with the wonderful people at HPD."
Sales, who races under both Mexican and American flags, is no stranger to the team, having been vice-champion in IMSA’s inaugural TCR championship in 2018, whilst American McMurry won the GTD title in an NSX GT3 last year and has been named an HPD Junior Driver. “The are championship-caliber talents, and we’re excited to get the season under way at Sonoma,” noted Beck.
“I’m pleased to return to race with Compass in their new Acura, which is a proven, competitive platform” said Sales. “We had a great run together in 2018, and I’m looking forward to being back in the SRO paddock again!”
McMurry was equally effusive. “After a tremendous season last year with the NSX, I could not be happier to make my start as a new HPD Junior Driver with Compass Racing. It’s a new platform to the team, but they have great pedigree in World Challenge and I hope to bring my knowledge of the car to help get us wins and be in the hunt for the championship."
The No. 77 livery will pay tribute to visually-impaired philanthropic artist and long-time Compass collaborator Jeff Hanson, who suddenly passed away last December at the age of 27 from neurofibromatosis, the genetic disorder that took his vision 15 years prior. Compass plans to honor Jeff's legacy throughout the 2021 season, with its' NSX livery featuring Jeff’s vibrantly hued painting “Light Show at the Louvre”. The team has established a fundraising campaign in memory of Jeff, via their partner non-profit the Race Day Foundation (http://racedayfoundation.org/jeffhanson), in hopes of helping to reach Jeff's goal of raising $10 million for charity by his 30th birthday in 2023.
“We ran cars featuring Jeff’s artwork throughout the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons with great success, and it warms my heart to see his work return on our new Acura NSX GT3,” remarked Team Principal, Karl Thomson.
The 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS season begins March 4th at Sonoma Raceway. Live streaming, news updates and live timing are available at https://www.gt-world-challenge-america.com.