British racing driver Jack Harvey will compete in a partial schedule during the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series with Michael Shank Racing. The team and driver combination will partner for six races during the 2018 season, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports providing help through a technical partnership.
Last year, Michael Shank Racing partnered with Andretti Autosport to finally make their IndyCar series race debut in the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500. This came after several other attempts in previous years with other teams sadly fell through.
Harvey took to the track for the team on their debut at IMS, but his race ended early after an incident with Conor Daly. The pair re-partnered for the final two races of the year at Watkins Glen and Sonoma. Harvey took fourteenth at the Glen and eighteenth at Sonoma. Despite having a tough start to his IndyCar series career, Harvey remains confident in his and his team’s chances and is thankful that team-boss Michael Shank kept him in the cockpit.
“I believe in Michael,” said Harvey. “When we went through together at Indy, he never wavered once. He never criticized me. There was obviously some things that were completely out of my hands and he never bailed in any of the process.
“We sat down in Detroit and floated the idea at him and said, ‘Hey, would you be interested in this if we can try and put it together?’ We kept talking about it and it grew in pace. What I like about Michael is, although sometimes he delivers me the phone call that I’m not always wanting to have, he’s so honest and straight. He gives the absolute straightest answer possible and he’s just really easy to work with.
“I’ve really enjoyed that with him as a person. As a race team, he knows how to win. Everything that he’s competed in, he’s won, and I think that’s a really big factor that we considered. Because if you can be successful like he has been in everything he’s done, there’s no reason he won’t be in IndyCar.
“I believe in him, I believe in his vision. He fills me with confidence. I’m looking forward to going racing for him.”
For 2018, Michael Shank Racing will double their schedule from three to six. They will be on the grid for the season-opener at St Petersburg, the third round of the season at Long Beach, the Indianapolis 500 in May, the thirteenth round of the season in Mid-Ohio, the Grand Prix of Portland in September and the season finale shortly after at Sonoma. The team also mentioned the possibility of adding Road America and Toronto to the schedule at a later date.
Mike Shank, the team principal of Michael Shank Racing, commented after the announcement that his intentions are to move up to a full-time entry in the not-too-distant future. He believes that his multi-year partnership with Schmidt Peterson is a big step toward achieving that goal.
“At some point, yes, we would like to do the whole series,” Shank said. “We’re going to do it when the time is right. I tell you, I’ve been in this business for – this will be my 23rd season – and we’ve never had layoffs. We’ve been very conservative, so that’s why we’re doing more testing and maybe less races. We’re only scheduled to do six so far because we’re going to ease ourselves into this for lots of reasons.
“But we’re setting ourselves up to be here for a long time and this is the first step.”
The season-opening round of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series will take place on March 11 with the Grand Prix of St Petersburg. Michael Shank Racing and Jack Harvey will be hoping to get their 2018 partial campaign off to a good start.