Sunoco Daytona Challenge press release
Nasr set for Rolex 24 debut with Michael Shank Racing
Anglo American Oil Company and Michael Shank Racing are pleased to announce that after impressing in the test sessions, Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge winner, Felipe Nasr, will join Michael Shank Racing in the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24.
Michael Shank Racing (MSR) has announced a second Daytona Prototype entry for the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona. The team teams has signed 3 other young chargers to drive alongside Felipe and to pilot the No.6 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Ford-powered Riley entry as the team aims for a podium return in the fabled endurance challenge.
NASCAR pilot and GRAND-AM race winner Michael McDowell will be joined by Felipe plus two other young drivers, Jorge Goncalvez (Venezuela) and Gustavo Yacaman (Columbia) who are also making their Rolex Sports Car Series debut and make their first start in the endurance classic.
“Testing with MSR has been a great experience so far and now I’m really looking forward to joining them for the race. The 3 other drivers are looking really good right now, we are all giving everything we have to be up at the front,” said Nasr. “It’s a pleasure to be with Michael Shank Racing – it’s a great team to be part of. To be taking part in the Rolex 50th Anniversary with them is an honour.”
McDowell’s GRAND-AM experience stretches back to 2004, as the Phoenix native broke through for his first Daytona Prototype victory one year later in Mexico City. While his motorsports career has seen him show speed in everything from open-wheel to NASCAR Sprint Cup, his Rolex 24 participation remains constant with four top-10 results in five Rolex 24 starts. The outing is the first time for him to race with a Riley chassis since he took one to victory lane in Mexico City.
Goncalvez made his Daytona Prototype debut in October when he joined Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian to test the No. 23 Ford-Riley. He was quickly up to speed and immediately set a strong pace as he took his first laps in the Daytona Prototype at Barber Motorsports Park. The young Venezuelan has progressed through the open-wheel ranks and most recently scored four top-fives and nine top-10s on his way to placing fifth in the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights Championship.
Yacaman has also climbed the open-wheel racing ladder and has competed in the Firestone Indy Lights ranks for the past three years. 2011 saw Yacaman finish fourth in the championship to complete a stellar season in which he scored five podiums - highlighted with a breakthrough win at the inaugural race through the streets of Baltimore.
“We are very excited about the line-ups we have with both cars,” said Team Owner Mike Shank. “Last year, we ran three cars and all three finished the race in the top ten, and one was just short of being on the podium. We learned a lot, and we want to put everything into a two-car effort. The guys have impressed me in testing, and if we can stay out of trouble and on the right side of the pit wall, I think we might surprise some folks with how strong this car could be.”
“ This is of course my first time with the team and I’m feeling very comfortable already – Ozz Negri is here helping me again and he will be in the other MSR DP,” said Felipe. “With this team and the other drivers I am feeling really confident about the race.”
The 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona will take place on the 28th/29th of January.