Columbian Gustavo Yacaman and Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia have been named as drivers from Michael Shank Racing’s #6 Ford-Riley Daytona Prototype as the Ohio-based squad add a second car for a full season for the first time in three years of Rolex Series competition.
The news was revealed in a press conference in Columbia with both drivers along with team owner present.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here, making this announcement with Gustavo and Antonio,” said Mike Shank. “We’ve been working for a long time to be back to a two-car effort and while there were a lot of good options for us, the biggest thing was to know that we’d be coming to each race with an opportunity to be successful. I really believe that with these two drivers, we’ve got the tools we need to be competitive, and hopefully this will be a strong platform for us to build on and prepare for 2014 and beyond.”
For Yacaman the confirmation that he will drive for the team all year follows his second appearance in the Rolex 24 at Daytona for the squad in January, when he combined with Chris Cumming, Jorge Goncalves and Michael Valiante in the #6 entry. Yacaman – and Goncalvez – were also part of the 2012 team at Daytona that scored a third place in a race when both men made their Rolex 24 debuts.
“This is a very exciting day for me and my career, to be joining Mike Shank and looking forward to a full season in the Rolex Series,” said Yacaman. “I know how good this team is, and the racing with these Daytona Prototypes is very competitive and very close so it is something that all the drivers really enjoy. Having a co-driver like Antonio is going to be great–he has a lot of experience and even though he will be new to the Prototypes, I think we will be a strong combination.”
For Pizzonia the deal will bring him his first taste of Rolex Series competition following a career in which he rose through the European open-wheel series to Formula One, driving with Jaguar and Williams in the 2000s.
They will join Ozz Negri and John Pew at Michael Shank Racing, the pair previously confirmed for another year together in the #60 DP.
Following the month long break after the Rolex 24 at Daytona the Rolex Series roars back into life on March 2 with a first ever visit to the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.