MSR Scales Back to Single-Car DP Entry for 2014

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

With higher-than-expected costs to upgrade existing Daytona Prototype machinery, Michael Shank Racing will focus its efforts on a single Riley-Ford entry in next year’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

Speaking with Sportscar365 Monday at Daytona International Speedway, team owner Mike Shank confirmed their decision to scale back to a one-car operation, which will likely see the return of Ozz Negri and John Pew as full-season drivers.

Both will be turning laps in the newly upgraded Ford EcoBoost-powered DP this week at DIS, part of official TUDOR Championship pre-season testing.

“We’re going to focus on getting [the No. 60] car really good and see what happens,” Shank said. “I think [teams] are having an initial scare right now. It’s going to be great once we get everything figured out. Until that time comes, it’s going to be a little bit sparse.”

While the DP/P2 technical regulations have yet to be finalized, Shank says the expected investment to make DP cars competitive is too large of a gamble to make unless they have guaranteed funding in place.

“It’s a weird deal. I can’t just do a one-off and financially make it because of the additional costs to get the car to where the [updated] one is right now,” he said.

“Everything, all in with spares, is a substantial investment from my part. I want to have it sitting there but I don’t want to take a loan out to have it just sitting there. If I built it, will they come? Maybe. But I don’t know.”

The team’s updated Riley-Ford, complete with IMSA’s proposed diffuser, tunnels and dual element rear wing, will run for the first time on Tuesday. Shank said he expects the car to have carbon brakes installed for a private test, hosted by Riley Technologies, at DIS next month.

It’s a separate chassis that was run here last month as part of a Ford event, which saw the MSR-run EcoBoost-powered DP smash a 26-year track record held by Bill Elliott.

“We’re just going to try and make the thing upshift, downshift and go around in a circle,” Shank said in regards to the goals for tomorrow’s test.

“It is so entirely different and nothing even like the [Ford EcoBoost Daytona lap record] car we’ve had here. We changed our intercoolers, ducting and routing, exhaust.

“This is another version of that. There’s so many integrations. We’re just trying to make the the thing go right now. We’re anticipating a lot of little teething things here.”

Confirmation of a reduced effort for MSR brings the confirmed number of full-season DP entrants to six.

An additional four P2 cars have already been announced, with at least two more expected, which should result in a Prototype field of no fewer than a dozen entries for 2014.

19 Comments

  1. Snaeper

    November 18, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Hey John, any chance of updating the Silly Season soon so we know who’s running what and for how long?

  2. Moonshine

    November 18, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Sparse compared to what? Last year most of the Grand Am rounds had about 12 prototypes competing.

  3. Jack Maxwell

    November 19, 2013 at 12:45 am

    There were more like 14 DPs on average last season.

    That number was thought to be going up, but with the exorbitant costs to improve the cars and the higher operating budgets required it could be a case where there will only be the 6 DPs currently confirmed that will be seen running the whole schedule.

    At the moment it appears that 8 of the DPs racing this year will not be returning to run full time in 2014, but that could change. Deals are being worked on now that might bring the number up. If I should hear more tomorrow or Wed. at Daytona I will post it.

    PS-
    An additional 3 DP cars that were projected to be there for the season will not be arriving due to the cost increases mandated by the USCC.

    I doubt they be buying European P2′s or those beautiful Panoz Deltawings to replace them.

  4. Anthony

    November 19, 2013 at 3:37 am

    I predict about 8 DP’s, the rest will be P2′s, the number is unknown.

    My problem (not really) with Shank is that he’s putting Pew in the car (likely paying some of the bills) and going to be off the pace every time he’s in it, so I don’t know where they expect to end up at the end of races.

    Lower part of the Top 10 likely.

    • Jack Maxwell

      November 19, 2013 at 5:43 am

      Pew is paying much of the tab. If the costs continue to rise I will bet that guys like him leave and there will be no DP’s, just a handful of P2 cars and then it will likely collapse. The ALMS had few cars because of costs and went away and so will ALMS 2.0

      PWC is now the best hope for sports car racing in N.America,IMO. GT3 is the most cost effective and successful sports car formula ever developed. If they follow Ratels lead the guys at PWC can have a stable series with exciting cars and then pick up the enduros when it all falls apart. With the huge number of GT3 cars racing around the world they would have healthy fields at Daytona and Sebring, just as Ratel has at Spa.

      Bill France “sold out” when he bought the ALMS and it is costing him. Loyal G/A participants are not happy. Almost as bad is the fact that they could have easily made GTD into pure GT3 during the transition, but failed to do so. Now France has multiple teams leaving DP and the ALMS fans who will still bad mouth him because they don’t have P1 cars. Two or three LMP1′s lapping GT cars and having the VAG twins showing up at Sebring and PLM to stomp them into the dust doesn’t appeal to me, but the fanatics are already complaining.

      I predicted the situation with the ALMS and was right. Scotty A. will take this series down as well.

      • Doug

        November 19, 2013 at 8:21 am

        SO cynical…

        As if GA was making it without the bankroll of cash coming out of Bill France’s own pocket subsidize cars.

        It wasn’t.

        It’s obvious the WEC gutted prototype racing the ALMS. The next two years are transition years until we get a new prototype class.

        • Bakkster

          November 19, 2013 at 9:13 am

          Three years transition til the new regs, they want the teams to have time to amortize their costs.

        • Jack Maxwell

          November 19, 2013 at 1:15 pm

          So the failure of the ALMS was that all of the G/A teams were helped by NASCAR, combined with the obvious gutting of the ALMS by the creation of the WEC?

          Who did the WEC and ACO “steal away” from the ALMS?

          What excuses will you and the other Scotty A. and Dr.P apologists come up with when ALMS 2.0 tanks? Not enough Deltawings because of the obvious hate for Panoz and his progressive designs for the future?

          Why someone would not want to park their ugly DP car to snap up a Deltawing is just beyond my understanding.

        • KJ Maxwell

          November 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm

          It will have been a transition decade for Scotty A. by the time new LMP cars come. But if you only knew what he knew!

      • Bakkster

        November 19, 2013 at 9:16 am

        It’s a little early to toot your own horn, isn’t it? The first season hasn’t even started yet…

        Let’s see what actually happens this year.

        • Jack Maxwell

          November 19, 2013 at 12:53 pm

          Whats the point of a prediction if it is done when the collapse is obvious to everyone and just around the corner?

          Besides, it isn’t just me. Talk to most of the regular G/A team owners in private and you would find that they are not too happy with ALMS 2.0. They came to G/A to get away from high costs that the ACO and ALMS like to impose. How else did the ALMS get to where there were just 2 LMP1′s and a Deltawing? The ACO had 4 LMP1′s at the WEC COTA event and a handful of people watching.GTE is dying because of the cost. A proper GT3 car is a much better value. That’s why Ratel gets 60+ GT3 cars at Blancpain Series races.

          “World Class” looks like the Spa 24,IMO. It is stable,and viable for the future. Plus they actually have racing in GT3, not just exhibitions featuring Muscle Milk or VAG.

          The ALMS killed the ALMS by following the ACO.The WEC is doomed by high cost vs the perceived value to competitors and corporate partners alike. It seems to many that it will happen again with ALMS 2.0. I do begrudgingly salute Atherton and “Dr” Panoz for being so clever to pull it all off. Of course they did it “For the Fans”.

          So ALMS fans are getting what they wanted.Now if they can get Dyson and Mr.Muscle Milk to get those P1 cars back out things will soon be back to where they were. Just like Obamacare, the G/A competitors and followers will have no choice but to finally turn to the dark side with Scotty A.

          Thankfully there is a choice.

      • Pat

        November 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm

        LOL, Kurt. Maybe because NASCAR stopped giving money to teams to race DPs, the numbers are going down.

  5. Koos

    November 19, 2013 at 6:50 am

    So far it looks like the new sports car championship is going downhill with fewer entries than the two previous championships and the bulk coming from the lower classes

    • Bakkster

      November 19, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Fewer DPs, yes, but it still looks like we’ll hit the same number of total prototypes as we saw DP only last year, maybe more. And that number is more than we’ve seen P1 and P2 combined for half a decade.

      And let’s not forget how much is driven purely by the increased schedule. Running time is up significantly, with GA teams adding 12 and 10 hours and ALMS teams adding a 24 and a 6. Yet we as fans still want a longer calendar…

  6. Joe C

    November 19, 2013 at 11:34 am

    ALMS this and GA that. The fans of both need to get over what has been and accept what we have. Hopefully they get the “P” class right and everything else should fall in place.

    I mean the GTD class looks to be great! This should be a good platform to work off of and I would not be suprized to see the WEC, ELMS,and the Asian LMS all take that format for the GT-AM class in the future. This would give teams more options for cars its seems as well as more teams that would be intrested in a global format to have a option to race almost any where in the world. Also easier to get a new car if they write one off than finding a car that is of last years body and setup(simular to the issue Krone had at LeMans).

    GTLM unchanged and may get better with Muscle Milk with a Merc or a Bentley. Seemingly this has been the best Pro GT racing in the world in years past for endurance racing and again a global format.

    PC gives great racing along with the three options of steper class and options for Gentlman driver(sliver/bronze driver) Along with the cost effectiveness of racing in this class.

    • Bakkster

      November 19, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      Definitely agreed. Let’s see how it goes this year, and if they need tweaks let’s suggest them once we see what happens on the track.

      Personally, I wish IMSA was following the ELMS GTC format, rather than the other way around. Too much tweaking in GTD for my tastes. It will still probably put on an incredible show, but going to GT3 cars plus weight and restrictor would be my preference.

      • Jack Maxwell

        November 19, 2013 at 1:20 pm

        Q:Why didn’t they just leave GT3 alone?

        A: Because they would embarrass the GTE cars and teams who will surely buy ad time for the TV broadcasts.

        • Bakkster

          November 19, 2013 at 4:27 pm

          Simpler answer, because the class gap wouldn’t be big enough to prevent interference.

          Moot anyway, GTE/GT3 should be becoming GT+/GT in a few years.

  7. pdxracefan

    November 19, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    A couple thoughts -

    Jack Maxwell, Nice rants, but more than alittle tedious. We get your point.

    Bakkster, I agree with you.

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