Michael Shank Racing continued their strong start to the 2015 season at the weekend, with the Ohio based team concluding a strong and productive test for their Ligier at the Roar Before the 24.
The team, made up of long term drivers John Pew, Ozz Negri and AJ Allmendinger and 17-year-old Matt McMurray, finished the Roar with a wealth of data for the JS P2, with the weekend throwing up a mixture of overcast, sunny and damp weather.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how good the car is and how well prepared it is,” said Team Owner Mike Shank. “We’ve had little issues, but nothing ever slowed us down. It’s a big learning process. The Onroak folks were amazingly accommodating to us and made sure we had what we needed when we needed it. But on top of that, they’ve built a car that everybody just loves to drive.
“ I think we are very competitive so that’s good. It’s very different preparing this car compared to preparing the Daytona Prototype (DP). We know what the DP did, we had it for 10 years. With this new car, we just don’t know. We have four days back at the shop and it’s just going to be a massive press to make sure we get everything done that we need to.”
For Pew and Negri things went without a hitch, with both drivers commenting on how easy it was for the team to switch from their old DP to the new HPD powered Ligier. “The Ligier JS P2 is a car that rewards rolling speed into the corner,” said Negri. “Driving a Daytona Prototype for so long, we were naturally worried about how long it would take for us to really get a handle on this car and what it takes to drive. But it was really seamless – it happened really fast.
“This car does everything a racecar driver wants. I’m impressed with it. I’m also extremely impressed with the HPD Honda package. What we’ve been working on a lot at this test is the electronics and working to keep the tire life as long as possible. There is still a lot to learn, but we are in good shape. I’m extremely happy to have made this move and I feel pretty confident heading into the Rolex 24.”
For Pew thing were similar, with the 2012 winner saying that the car is one he’s looking forward to driving for 24 hours, both at Daytona and at Le Mans. “I’m very happy with the car. It’s very consumer friendly, driver friendly as far as the controls and the cockpit and the cooling. I think it’s very friendly to the mechanics to work on. It’s very easy to work on – it’s well thought out.
“I’m with Mike (Shank) 100% on his decision to switch from the Daytona Prototype to the Ligier JS P2. It was time to change and this was the way to go. Someday I would like to race over in France (at Le Mans)…”