Driver Spotlight: Ozz Negri
Driver: No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda
Now that you have about a half season under your belt in the P2, how has the transition been and have your races with Krohn helped with that transition?
“It’s great. We are still learning about the car every day. Every time we make a gain, you know there’s always even more. It’s just a question of finding out the limit of the car. Racing the car is a little tricky. The Daytona Prototypes (DP) are faster on different parts of the track from us so it just makes it hard to race against them. We just have to be creative about passing them. Every race we’ve been finding something different. The Krohn deal helps because it’s more seat time for me. Just getting the feedback from the car and learning what it wants definitely helps. You cannot beat extra seat time.”
Where do you think the direction of the Prototype class is going for IMSA? Has it been a benefit to have an extra year in the P2 car for the Michael Shank team?
“In 2017 everything has to be the same and it will be basically a P2 car so just learning from the car and experiencing the kind of stuff we are experiencing right now will definitely pay dividends in the future.”
You are coming off two podium finishes. Is it still feasible to win a championship this year? Or have your goals shifted?
“We have to be realistic. I’m always really, really optimistic. I think it’s possible because you never know. But I think it will be really hard. The Pro-Pro teams are really strong and I still think that the DP has a little bit of an advantage over us especially on the fast tracks. All we can do is do the best we can every time we go on track and if that is enough to win races and win the championship that’s good. If not, we’re going to take what we can.”
Next up is the Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen. Do you prepare differently for an endurance race versus a shorter race like Detroit (100 minutes)? If so, how?
“Longer races are no longer endurance races – they are like a sprint race. We prepare just a little differently. There is a little bit more strategy involved as far as fuel and so on, but the biggest thing is getting physically prepared to endure a longer sprint race. That’s what it is – a long sprint race.”
You work out with a famous UFC fighter, Big Foot. What type of training do you do together and how does that help you in the racecar?
“There are a lot of things that help. We do high interval training with a lot of intensity. If you look at those guys fighting, they give everything they physically have in five minutes and it’s when your heart rate is right up there and you have to be focused on what you’re doing and you don’t lose that focus. So that’s most of the training that we do together. The endurance stuff I do by myself.
“Training with those guys is super fun and the motivation is awesome. They help you to push yourself to the limit and when you have a big guy like Big Foot and my trainer Everton Bittar Oliveira telling you can do more and more, then you go and do more when you thought you didn’t have any more left, so it’s pretty cool.
“We met because Big Foot trains with my trainer and when I broke my foot, I had to do rehab and work out so I wouldn’t lose my muscle mass and my endurance. My daughter Ana knew of him (Oliveira) and we’ve been working together ever since.”