Michael Shank Racing to Field Toyota Doran JE-4 Daytona Prototype REYNOLDSBURG, OHIO (December 1, 2003) -- Michael Shank Racing (MSR) announced today that it will field a Toyota-powered Doran JE-4 in the Daytona Prototypes division of the Grand...
Michael Shank Racing to Field Toyota Doran JE-4 Daytona Prototype
REYNOLDSBURG, OHIO (December 1, 2003) -- Michael Shank Racing (MSR) announced today that it will field a Toyota-powered Doran JE-4 in the Daytona Prototypes division of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series in 2004. The team is slated to begin its winter testing program Dec. 19-20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in preparation for the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, Jan. 29 - Feb. 1, at Daytona International Speedway.
"We're extremely pleased to be able to make this announcement," stated MSR owner Michael Shank. "After seven years of competing for championships and winning our share of races and poles in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, we started looking for a racing series that made more sense for us, both competitively and financially.
"And once we researched all the options available, we came to the conclusion that the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series was where we wanted to be. We really believe in the Series' leadership and the concepts that they have established, and we think they are well on their way to taking sports car racing to a new level here in North America."
"And what really excites us about competing in the Rolex Series is that we've been able to put together a chassis and engine combination that we're confident will allow us to challenge for poles and wins starting with our very first race at Daytona," Shank continued. "We feel that the Daytona Prototype Doran JE-4 chassis built by Kevin Doran and his 2003 championship-winning organization will provide the best aero and mechanical package available, and we know from our experience with Toyota in the Atlantic series that they will do whatever it takes to be the premier manufacturer in the category while offering unparalleled support."
MSR is currently in talks with several drivers about contesting the Rolex 24 At Daytona, as well as the full 12-race 2004 Rolex Series schedule. Interested parties can contact Michael Shank at the team's headquarters in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, by calling (740) 964-9998, or via e-mail at MShank007@aol.com.
"Michael Shank Racing is another welcome addition to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series," said Jim France, chief executive officer of the International Speedway Corporation. "Mike Shank was voted car owner of the year twice in the Toyota Atlantic Series, and his record for finding young driving talent -- including Sam Hornish and Kenny Wilden -- speaks for itself. MSR will be a great addition to the competitiveness of the Rolex Series, joining a stellar group of teams to create a tremendous show for the fans. This is shaping up as one of the most exciting road racing seasons in years, and I can't wait for it to open with the 42nd anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona."
"We're thrilled to be a partner with another proven team like Michael Shank Racing, a team that we've been associated with for a number of years through our relationship in the Toyota Atlantic Series," stated Les Unger, Toyota national motorsports manager. "Mike Shank has helped develop some top-flight young racing talent in the past few years, and we're confident that he'll continue to enjoy that type of success in Grand American Rolex Sports Car competition."
"It's great to see a professional racing team coming to sports car endurance racing from the open-wheel ranks," said Grand American President Roger Edmondson. "Primarily, most of our growth has come within the sports car ranks, and hopefully this is the start of a new trend. Mike and his team have a very impressive resume, and they are a very welcome addition to our series."
"We are very proud to have such a strong team join the Rolex Series with the Toyota Doran Designs JE-4 Daytona Prototype," stated Kevin Doran, founder and president of Doran Designs. "I believe Mike Shank Racing will prove to be a leader in this sport in a very short time. With the present momentum in this series, and teams like Mike Shank Racing coming on board, the future has never looked better for sports car racing. I am looking forward to a winning relationship with the MSR team."
Michael Shank Racing competed full-time in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship between 1996 and 2002. During that time it posted 38 top-five finishes, which included four wins by drivers Kenny Wilden (2), Sam Hornish Jr. (1) and Martin Basso (1). MSR's Toyota Atlantic record also includes five pole positions and a second-place finish in the 1999 championship standings. Hornish, the 2001 and 2002 Indy Racing League driving champion, won the Toyota Atlantic Rookie of the Year Award while driving for MSR in 1999. Michael Shank was named the Toyota Atlantic Team Owner of the Year in 1999 and 2002.