Michael Shank Racing has reversed its decision to skip next month’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race in Detroit, announcing Tuesday plans to run the 100-minute street race with Katherine Legge and Ozz Negri.
The official Le Mans Test Day falls on the same weekend as the Belle Isle event, posing a difficult challenge for teams such as MSR, which will run on both sides of the pond.
The full-season driver line-up of Negri and John Pew has been altered, with Pew set to concentrate on his efforts in France, ahead of the team’s debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Negri, however, will travel from Detroit to Le Mans after the IMSA race, and so is free to compete in the street race.
Legge will join Negri in the team’s Ligier JS P2 Honda for the race, as her usual Panoz DeltaWing Racing effort is set to skip the Detroit round.
Shank’s entry keeps engine partner Honda in the mix of the title fight, as Honda currently leads the Prototype Manufacturers’ championship, thanks to victories in three of the four rounds this season.
“I have to admit that I hated the idea of missing Detroit, so for everything to come together for us to race that weekend the way that it has, I’m really happy,” said Mike Shank.
“Hopefully we can bring Honda some good points in the championship.”
Detroit will mark Legge’s LMP2 debut, after spending the past few years at the wheel of the DeltaWing.
“This is not only my first time in an LMP2 but my first time racing at Detroit and I am really looking forward to it,” she said.
“I am extremely grateful to Mike Shank and Honda for offering me this chance to drive and really appreciate that Dr. Panoz agrees that this is too good of an opportunity to miss as the DeltaWing is not racing.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I intend on making as much of it as I possibly can.”
With Shank’s primary crew in France for the Le Mans Test Day, the team will rely mainly on members of Doran Racing in Detroit, with Kevin Doran set to lead efforts.
“It’s a bit more logistical legwork for us, but we’ve got a good plan in place,” Shank added.
“We’ll have Kevin Doran and some of his guys in Detroit to help us out, so we feel good about having a competitive race in Detroit.”