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Shank Prepping for HPD ARX-04b Test

Michael Shank on upcoming HPD ARX-04b test…

Photo: Michael Shank

Photo: Michael Shank

Michael Shank said he’s looking forward to seeing the potential of Honda Performance Development’s updated ARX-04b, which the team will test on behalf of the manufacturer next week at Sebring.

The LMP2 car, which made its debut in last year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona with Tequila Patron ESM, hasn’t been raced since, after encountering aero-related issues, which HPD has sought a solution for.

“We’re going to throw everything we have at it,” Shank told Sportscar365. “It’s just to verify some things — not to change the world with it — but they want to see that they’ve made some progress.”

The test, scheduled for April 7, will see MSR veteran Ozz Negri handle driving duties, with the team having already received the ex-ESM chassis.

“We got the car [earlier this month], stripped it, crack checked all the suspension, went through the gearbox, went through the fuel cell,” Shank said.

“It’s going back together now. We’ll be getting our motor for it and come down [to Sebring] and run it.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s a very, very well-built car. The quality of the build is really, really good. They’ve changed a lot of the bodywork and have done a lot to it.”

While fully committed to his Ligier JS P2 Honda this year, Shank wouldn’t absolutely rule out a switch to the 04b, which along with the Ligier, will be grandfathered into the new-look IMSA Prototype class in 2017.

“I don’t think it is [a possibility for 2017] but you never know in this world,” he said. “I’m here to help Honda. If they want to run it, then we’ll run it.

“But we want it to be competitive and so do they. Let’s see how that turns out.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Pat

    March 28, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    I guess we’re seeing the first joint venture between a team and manufacturer for next year, assuming Honda shows up. We already know that the pre-2017 LMP2s won’t be BoP’d with the new spec cars, so running the 04b wouldn’t make much sense.

    • Jack

      March 28, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      Where did u get the information that these prototypes won’t be BOP’d to the new car. I haven’t heard any news saying that.

      • Bakkster

        March 28, 2016 at 5:10 pm

        It has been reported several times that there won’t be BoP, at least by the ACO, to bring current P2s up to 2017 speed.

        • kv

          March 31, 2016 at 12:20 pm

          GM ,HPD,BENTLEY,NISSAN,ASTON -MARTIN,ALL MANUFACTURERS want more control of AERO properties,not only to gain an advantage,but to make the product on the track ,as relevent as possible to that on the road.IMSA has the better solution,with DPi !

    • GTurner38

      March 28, 2016 at 7:08 pm

      The catch right now is that it doesn’t look like Honda will build a DPi. They want to provide engines without making a body kit, and IMSA is dead set against that, so the only option right now is a one year deal running the 2016 Ligier or HPD.

      • someone

        March 28, 2016 at 8:17 pm

        That is not it, they said they would not be ready for 2017…. this is a stop gap for the 2017 season they said they would have body work for 2018 however. The 2017 season is too soon for them since they don’t have a chassis partner that has a car ready for testing yet.

  2. NASCAR/DPs Suck

    March 28, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Could still be a good car underneath-really looking forward to seeing how it performs.

  3. Max

    March 28, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Two thoughts:

    Maybe this is one possibility for the new LMPC chassis should the class continue on?

    Maybe they’re testing the bodywork to see if they can adapt it as their Honda Specific Aero for the DPI platform.

  4. David Chaste

    March 29, 2016 at 1:56 am

    They still have the Riley DP, there in the background. That thing is probably full of dust by now. But still probably valuable since it won the 2012 Daytona 24h race. They probably felt rejected when they realized the will not be getting the factory deal even though they had won Daytona for Ford.

  5. David Chaste

    March 29, 2016 at 2:06 am

    Honda should just ante up and finance the cost of running the car for a whole season, end of story. No team in their right mind with resources for a full fledged operation will opt to try an unproven chassis at these uncertain times.

    Ligier ran their own chassis to showcase it, Oreca supports customers with professional drivers, and Chevy provides very good incentives to keep their teams running their gear.

    Honda wants a team to self fund themselves with an unproven product. Yeah the engine is great with solid support but does it work as well in the ARX chassis?

    Since the Honda workd very well in the Ligier it had better work even better in the ARX chassis for the chassis to be considered worthy.

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