Michael Shank Racing prepares for Daytona sebut in Rolex 24. Daytona Beach, FL -- Michael Shank Racing is in the final stages of preparation for its debut race in the Daytona Prototype class in the 42nd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona ...
Michael Shank Racing prepares for Daytona sebut in Rolex 24.
Daytona Beach, FL -- Michael Shank Racing is in the final stages of preparation for its debut race in the Daytona Prototype class in the 42nd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway this weekend, campaigning its brand-new Lexus-powered Doran JE4 Daytona Prototype in what is widely expected to be one of the most exciting Rolex events ever.
"This is going to be a very competitive race, and we are truly excited to be here to get the chance to race here at Daytona," said Shank, who has repeatedly won awards as a team owner after retiring from a successful career as a driver himself.
Shank, who mortgaged his own home to help fund the effort, is confident that his team will be posting a strong challenge, and hopeful that the luck plays their way.
"We have all the ingredients for a strong run-a competitive car, a great crew, and a driver roster that has both the speed and experience to put up a strong challenge," said Shank. "We have been doing our homework since we tested here in January, and the drivers are more comfortable with the car, so we are optimistic about the race."
The burgeoning Daytona Prototype class will feature nearly twenty entries and has attracted drivers with names like Paul Newman and NASCAR stars Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon, Jimmy Johnson, and Dale Earnhart, Jr.
"There is certainly some formidable competition in this class, but we will all be battling not only each other, but also too the challenges that racing for twenty-four hours presents," said Shank.
The Columbus, Ohio-based team team has an international flair, with Americans Brent Martini, Cort Wagner and Kelly Collins co-driving with Great Britain's Mike Newton, and Brazil's Thomas Erdos. Sponsoring the efforts of Martini, Wagner and Collins will be Rx.com, with Dedicated Micros, NetVu and TransVu providing support for Newton and Erdos.
Martini and Wagner teamed together to win the 2003 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series' GT Division championship, while Collins has driven factory backed Corvettes in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) for the past several seasons. Newton and Erdos competed in the FIA GT Championship as teammates in 2003 driving a Saleen S7. Erdos captured the British GT championship in 2002.
The Daytona Prototype class was designed by Grand-Am to create close competition by strictly limiting the specifications of the cars and engines, thereby putting more emphasis on the role that the teams and drivers play.
First round qualifying for the Daytona Prototypes will begin at 3:55 p.m. on Friday. The 42nd anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona will get underway at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31, with the checkered flag falling on Sunday, February 1st, some hard-fought twenty four hours later.