Michael Shank said he’s looking forward to seeing the potential of Honda Performance Development’s updated ARX-04b, which the team will test on behalf of the manufacturer next week at Sebring.
The LMP2 car, which made its debut in last year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona with Tequila Patron ESM, hasn’t been raced since, after encountering aero-related issues, which HPD has sought a solution for.
“We’re going to throw everything we have at it,” Shank told Sportscar365. “It’s just to verify some things — not to change the world with it — but they want to see that they’ve made some progress.”
The test, scheduled for April 7, will see MSR veteran Ozz Negri handle driving duties, with the team having already received the ex-ESM chassis.
“We got the car [earlier this month], stripped it, crack checked all the suspension, went through the gearbox, went through the fuel cell,” Shank said.
“It’s going back together now. We’ll be getting our motor for it and come down [to Sebring] and run it.
“I’m looking forward to it. It’s a very, very well-built car. The quality of the build is really, really good. They’ve changed a lot of the bodywork and have done a lot to it.”
While fully committed to his Ligier JS P2 Honda this year, Shank wouldn’t absolutely rule out a switch to the 04b, which along with the Ligier, will be grandfathered into the new-look IMSA Prototype class in 2017.
“I don’t think it is [a possibility for 2017] but you never know in this world,” he said. “I’m here to help Honda. If they want to run it, then we’ll run it.
“But we want it to be competitive and so do they. Let’s see how that turns out.”