PATASKALA, Ohio – official release — MSR photo —
Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian will return to IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competition in 2015, with longtime drivers John Pew and Ozz Negri teaming up for a full-season campaign in the top Prototype class.
“This is really exciting news for me and this entire team,” said Shank. “Getting John and Ozz back, I think we’ve got all the tools we need to be successful in 2015.”
The Ohio-based team will utilize the familiar Ford EcoBoost/Riley Daytona Prototype combination for the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona as Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian pursues a second victory in the prestigious endurance race. The organization won the 2012 event with Pew and Negri who were joined by AJ Allmendinger and Justin Wilson.
The second round of the 2015 TUDOR Championship at Sebring International Raceway will see the Shank squad arrive with a new technical package, moving to the Ligier JS P2 Prototype. The closed-cockpit Prototype was constructed by Onroak Automotive, making its competition debut in the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans before winning the Six Hours of Fuji in October and the Six Hours of Shanghai in FIA World Endurance Championship competition last weekend.
“I’m very happy to be returning to race for Mike (Shank) again,” said Pew, who has raced for Michael Shank Racing since 2007. “We’re thrilled to be back to contest for the 2015 TUDOR Championship, and having the opportunity to move to the new Ligier JS P2 is very exciting. The Michael Shank Racing team works so hard at the track as well as away from it and I know they’ll be working hard over the off season to have us as prepared as ever for the new season. Driving with Ozz is great. He continues to push me and everyone else on the team to succeed and we’re even more motivated to do so this year.”
The 2015 Rolex 24 At Daytona will mark Pew and Negri’s 58th start together as co-drivers.
“I’m looking forward to being back in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the challenge of learning this new car,” said Negri, who has competed in the IMSA ranks for over 10 years and has also logged thousands of laps as a test driver in a range of machinery. “There is a lot of work to be done, but Michael Shank Racing is always ready to rise to the occasion. This new package is going to make for an exciting year and I’m very happy to be doing so with John (Pew) as my partner. We learned a lot last season and we have a great opportunity ahead of us in 2015.”
Michael Shank Racing has been competing in sportscar racing since 2004 and has over 230 Daytona Prototype starts to the team’s credit and over 32,000 laps completed. The move to the Ligier platform will mark a significant new direction for the team, with several long term ambitions in mind.
“I think we’ve got a great package for the Rolex 24 this year and I’m really excited about the potential for us with the new car starting at Sebring,” said Shank. “It is a very big change for us, but we are confident that it will be a positive one and we are looking forward to making the most of what our technical partners are bringing to this effort.”
The move to the new platform marks a foot forward for Onroak Automotive to strengthen its North American presence while also potentially opening up additional international opportunities in the future.
“The completion of this agreement with MSR for the sale of a Ligier JS P2 is a great satisfaction for Onroak Automotive,” said Jacques Nicolet, Onroak Automotive President. “MSR is one of the best-established, well-known teams in endurance racing in the United States. The fact that they have chosen us to make the transition to LM P2 is a real reward for all the efforts we’ve invested this year to make ourselves known on the American continent. I would like to wish MSR the greatest possible success.”
Michael Shank Racing will announce its expanded driver line-up for the longer endurance events in the coming weeks.