Michael Shank Racing Crossing Ocean Four Times To Compete In IMSA, Le Mans
Friday, May 27, 2016

Michael Shank Racing is already one week into a nearly two-month odyssey that will see some of its team members cross the Atlantic Ocean four times while logging track time in four countries. That’s nearly 16,000 frequent flier miles!

The journey began on Saturday, May 21, when the team flew to Milan, Italy, to test the Honda Ligier JS P2 at Monza. On Thursday, the team traveled to Le Mans, France, to continue preparation on the race car, while drivers Ozz Negri and John Pew flew back to the U.S. to their homes in South Florida.

Next Tuesday (May 31), half of the team returns to compete in the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic Presented by the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers. Negri and Katherine Legge will co-drive the No. 60 machine in the 100-minute race on Saturday, June 4.

Pew, meanwhile, travels back to France on Thursday, June 2, to join the team in preparations for the Le Mans test on Sunday, June 5.

“After all the preparation with the simulator and studying in-car video, I’m really looking forward to taking my first actual laps in the car at Le Mans,” Pew said. “I will be the first one on our team to test the car at Le Mans for our team. I look forward to it and feel very prepared. I will have the car all ready and warmed up for Ozz when he returns later on the test day.”

When Negri takes the checkered flag at Belle Isle at 2:20 p.m. on Saturday, June 4, the green flag flies for driver, owner and crew as they hustle to the Detroit Metro Airport to catch a 6:20 p.m. flight to Paris. The all-night journey continues with a quick flight on a small plane to Le Mans, where they hope to arrive by 11 a.m. on Sunday morning – 11:30 a.m. at the latest – to join up with Pew and the remainder of the team for the afternoon portion of the test.

Following the test, the team will remain in Le Mans for race week festivities, culminating with the endurance classic on June 18-19.

“The biggest challenge is remaining focused under the stress of being away a lot,” Shank said. “The fatigue and jet lag are real. Our team has never had a run for this long on the road ever. So keeping everyone's heads up and taking it just one task at a time is the only way not to get too overwhelmed. The car we are using at Le Mans is the same car that won the first two IMSA races AND it's running at the Watkins Glen Six Hour after the 24 Hours of Le Mans with ESM! Crazy year!”

There’s not much time for R&R following the checkered flag at Le Mans. The team returns to the U.S. on Tuesday, June 21. Then it’s on to New York on Wednesday, June 29, to participate in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on Sunday, July 3. Racing on back-to-back weekends for the only time on the 2016 WeatherTech Championship schedule, the team will remain in New York for two days, working on the race car, before crossing the border in Niagara Falls on Wednesday. The team loads in at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Thursday, racing in the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix on Sunday, July 10.

After the race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, the team finally returns to the race shop in Ohio on Monday, July 11. Then, they can catch their collective breaths. Since the Prototype class does not complete in the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park on July 23, the next action for the team will be at Road America on Sunday, August 7 for the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.