HENRY WOLF JOINS MICHAEL SHANK RACING
21 December, 2010--Michael Shank Racing announced on Tuesday the addition of Henry Wolf as Lead Engineer for the No. 60 Crown Royal XR Ford-Riley for the teams GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series 2011 campaign. Wolf will work with 2011 full-season drivers Ozz Negri and John Pew as the two look to break through for a win on the way to a strong season-long championship campaign.
Wolf joins the team with an extensive array of experience that includes being part of race-winning efforts at PPI, Newman-Haas, and Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing with Christian Da Matta, Christian Fittipaldi, and Michele Jourdain as well as scoring an Indianapolis 500 victory with Buddy Rice.
While his most recent position with KV Racing marked another chapter in his open-wheel log book, the California native first established himself in sports car racing starting with an effort in the CAN-AM ranks that took him to Europe full-time. After gaining experience in Group C competition, Wolf was lured back to the States to work at Swift Engineering, where he was involved with everything from the Swift IndyCar program to overseeing the Formula Atlantic project to extensive time working in Swift's wind tunnel. It was this experience that eventually led to his moving to Michael Shank Racing.
"Mike (Shank) was a Swift dealer, and I remember meeting him at a test at Road Atlanta when we were working on developing the Sports 2000, and I've just kept in touch with him ever since," said Wolf, who is most looking forward to the Rolex Series' return to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2011. "I always thought he ran an excellent operation so I'm excited about this opportunity. This race team is what Mike (Shank) lives and breathes, it's not just a fun hobby for him. He has to make it work, and that dedication is clear to everyone.
"The Daytona Prototypes are an interesting challenge as an engineer, and while there are a lot of regulations to help keep the costs in check, the rules still give us engineers some room to mess around! And having the two, three, four driver combination also makes it interesting because you can't just focus in on what one driver likes, you have to find what makes the car fastest overall between all the drivers. And that's not something I've worked with in quite some time, so I'm really looking forward to it."
In addition to the long relationship he has had with Shank, there are a lot of familiar faces on the team for Wolf.
"I've worked with several of the guys on the team for other teams and have been in contact with a lot of these guys for quite some time, since I live in Dublin so I feel like I've got a good idea of what the team has done in the past and what has worked and what hasn't," said Wolf. "So hopefully we can be effective straight away. I'm trying to come in with fresh eyes and just see how I can help make the team be better at the end of the year than we are right now, and I'm looking forward to hopefully being a part of that."
Michael Shank Racing is expected to soon confirm its strongest Rolex 24 At Daytona effort to date as the team looks to go one better than the 2nd place the team earned in 2006 with Negri, Patterson, Allmendinger, and Wilson driving. The addition of Wolf as well as the recent extension of the partnership with Crown Royal are part of the competitive package being assembled by the Columbus area team.
"The Rolex Sports Car Series is so competitive that you have to have every part of your team clicking perfectly to be competitive so we're really excited about having Henry join us," said Shank, who has had at least one car on the front row for the Rolex 24 At Daytona two of the last three years. "Having a good chemistry is important and having known Henry as long as I have and with him having so much experience with so many of the guys on this team, that is a big help. Of course, results are key, too, and we expect Henry to be a big part of that this year. We've had seasons where every time we unloaded the cars, we were fast from the first lap, and we've had seasons like last year where we were just fighting to keep up through the weekends. So we wanted to make some changes here in the off season to be as prepared as possible for 2011 and learning the new Continental Tires as quickly as we can."