Michael Shank Racing Pre-Belle Isle Report

Thursday, June 2, 2016

MANY THE MILES: Though the Belle Isle street course event is the closest stop on the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule to the Michael Shank Racing race shop in Pataskala, Ohio at just 225 miles, team members now travel over 4,000 miles to the track as the team returns from Le Mans, France in preparation for the team’s debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans next weekend.
The Michael Shank Racing team traveled to Italy on May 21 and spent the week preparing and testing its 24 Hours of Le Mans car at Monza. The squad then traveled to Le Mans, France. 

HALF AND HALF: While half of the Michael Shank Racing team remains in Le Mans, France to prepare the team’s 24 Hours of Le Mans car, the other half will make the return trip to the States for the Detroit event.·       

  • Detroit Crew: Mike Shank, Dale Wise (Lead Engineer), Colin Ward (Assistant Engineer), Darin Pigg (Mechanic), Trent Butterfield (Mechanic), Ralph Lohr (Tires), Jason Givens (Team Coordinator) 
  • Additional Detroit crew: Bob Lohr, Jesse Reznor, Brian Bailey, Noah Bailey, Rich Roberts, Kevin Doran
  • Le Mans Prep Crew: Justin Harnisfager (Crew Chief), Dave Leiter (Mechanic), Kevin Wimer (Mechanic), Brett Dozmati (Electronics)

FRESH OFF LAGUNA VICTORY: Michael Shank Racing drivers John Pew and Ozz Negri drove to a convincing win in the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda at Laguna Seca. It was the first win for the team since its victory in the 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona when the Pataskala, Ohio-based team stood atop the Daytona podium in the 50th Anniversary running of the event.

It was a combination of sharp strategy calls, perfect pit stop execution, and flawless driving that saw the team take the checkered flag first in line.

DOUBLE FIRST: Not only will Katherine Legge turn her first-ever laps in a Ligier JS P2, she will also take her first-ever laps around the Belle Isle street course this weekend.

BIG WIN: Congratulations to Curb/Agajanian driver Alexander Rossi, who won the Indianapolis 500 this weekend with Honda power for team owners Bryan Herta and Michael Andretti. 

CONSECUTIVE STARTS: The Detroit round will mark Michael Shank Racing’s 155th consecutive prototype race event since the team’s debut at the 2004 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
THE REARVIEW: Ozz Negri and John Pew combined to finish on the podium at Detroit last year with a second place finish in Michael Shank Racing’s No. 60 Honda Ligier JS P2. 
2012: Started – 9th, Finished 5th (John Pew & Ozz Negri)
2013: Started – 10th, Finished 13th (John Pew & Michael Valiante) – first lap crash
2013: Started – 8th, Finished 7th (Gustavo Yacaman & Antonio Pizzonia) 
2014: Started – 6th, Finished 4th (John Pew & Ozz Negri)
2015: Started – 6th, Finished 2nd (John Pew & Ozz Negri)
OZZ NEGRI: “It will be a busy schedule for me now that we are doing Detroit along with the Le Mans test day the very next day. Although Detroit is a track that I like a lot and have done well on in the past, it is also a difficult track for our Ligier P2 car which was not designed for bumpy street courses. Dale (Wise, Michael Shank Racing Engineer) and I have been talking a lot about set up and working hard to get the car better on the street circuits and I know we will start out better than where we finished last year. I am happy that Katherine (Legge) is joining us for the race, but I must admit that I will miss John (Pew, full-season co-driver) not being there!” 
KATHERINE LEGGE: “I am extremely grateful to Mike Shank and Honda for offering me this chance to drive and really appreciate that Dr. Panoz (Panoz DeltaWing Racing team owner) agrees that this is too good of an opportunity to miss as the DeltaWing is not racing. Ozz (Negri) has been sending me in-car footage and notes for me to study, and I hope to be as ready as possible from the start of the weekend. This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I intend on making as much of it as I possibly can."