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Shank Likely to Miss Detroit to Focus on 24H Le Mans

Michael Shank unlikely to run Detroit; focus on 24H Le Mans…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

Michael Shank Racing is unlikely to take part in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round in Detroit, as the team puts its focus on its forthcoming debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The fifth round of the WeatherTech Championship season on the streets of Belle Isle takes place on the same weekend as the Le Mans Test Day, which is mandatory for all new teams and drivers competing in the race.

While Shank will utilize a separate Honda-powered Ligier JS P2 chassis at Le Mans, the Ohio-based crew will be in France that weekend, which would make doing both events a challenge, according to the veteran team owner.

“Unless we’re in a good points position going in, we won’t do Detroit,” Shank told Sportscar365. “It’s not a secret; most people know. If we’re in a good position [points-wise] we’ll figure that out.

“I could lean on some of my IndyCar friends who can help pit the car [in Detroit]. There’s all kinds of things we could do if we had to do do Detroit.”

The team currently sits 11th in the Prototype class points standings following a DNF at Daytona, 15 points behind championship leaders Tequila Patron ESM, which claimed overall victory at Daytona.

Shank said a final decision on Detroit will likely come between the Long Beach and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca rounds.

The team, meanwhile, has also ruled out running the FIA World Endurance Championship round at Spa-Francorchamps, as a warm-up race to Le Mans, as had been originally considered.

“I would have to land a considerable sponsor to do it and now it’s almost too late,” Shank said. “It was just a financial thing.”

Shank will instead be taking part in a pre-Le Mans test at Monza, hosted by Onroak Automotive, in late May.

“It’s so much less money to go to Monza and we’re spending so much to do what we’re doing,” he said. “I had to pick one and I just didn’t want to spend any more money.”

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

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