Michael Shank Racing has confirmed its return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a revised two-car lineup, featuring new additions Lawson Aschenbach, Justin Marks and Alvaro Parente joining Katherine Legge at the wheel of the pair of Acura NSX GT3 cars.
Aschenbach and Marks will take on a full-season campaign in the No. 93 car, with the Legge and Parente-driven No. 86 car confirmed for only the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races next year.
Mario Farnbacher and AJ Allmendinger, meanwhile, will join the No. 93 pairing for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, with additional endurance drivers for the No. 86 yet to be announced.
The Ohio-based team transitions into a full customer effort next year, after a single year of factory backing in the car’s first season.
“We learned so much with this program last year and I was very proud to represent Acura and bring home a pair of wins with the NSX in its first season,” said team owner Michael Shank.
“The NSX is phenomenal and we want to build on what we’ve learned so far. I’m very pleased to have two big talents in Justin and Lawson come on board—their records speak for themselves.
“Having the second entry for the long races and maybe some additional events will also be a boost for the program, between what Katherine already knows about this car from last year and having a guy like Alvaro join us, that will be a second bullet for us in the long races. And people are going to love how these cars are going to look.”
Aschenbach makes the move from the now-defunct Stevenson Motorsports operation, with Marks having driven for Turner Motorsport in selected races this year, also in GTD.
Parente, the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge GT champion, is a McLaren GT factory driver.
“I’m extremely excited to be joining Michael Shank Racing in 2018,” Aschenbach said. “This team has the professionalism and dedication needed for success. From top to bottom you can see that everyone has a common goal, and that is to win.
“It’s going to be fun teaming up with my buddy Justin Marks. He’s a great friend and we are both excited to be pushing for podiums and wins.”
Marks added: “Even focusing the past years of my career in NASCAR, I’ve always felt that a return to full time endurance sports car racing was a goal.
“To make that return with a team like MSR is really special. I have a lot of respect for Michael and everything he’s accomplished. It’s a very cohesive, dedicated, classy group of talented individuals.”