Michael Shank Racing is planning to upgrade from the 2.8-liter to Honda’s 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine for the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
Subject to IMSA approval, the upgrade would confirm a switch that’s been in the works for months.
Honda Performance Development Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Eriksen told Sportscar365 in September that HPD was exploring the possibility, and MSR team owner Michael Shank had hinted at it prior to that.
“The original 2.8-liter displacement was based on international rules that were initiated several years ago, said Allen Miller, HPD Race Team Leader.
“But looking towards the future with the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, we have a new set of regulations, and increasing the displacement to 3.5-liters should be the best way forward.
“We already have experience running this version of our engine in Daytona Prototype and other racing series, and we’re looking forward to seeing the engine run in the MSR Ligier at next week’s test and throughout 2016.”
Shank added, “We’ve got a larger displacement motor – just looking at the 3.5, you can’t tell the difference to the (previous configuration) 2.8, but they’ve done a lot of lightening to it and a lot of durability running at HPD.
“I’m excited about it because I really think we have something here to go up against the Daytona Prototypes.”
The 3.5-liter motors have a direct link to the units that power a wide range of Honda and Acura vehicles, including the Acura MDX and RL as well as the Honda Pilot, Ridgeline, and Odyssey.
Meanwhile Shank’s new Ligier JS P2 chassis – a new tub that just arrived from Onroak Automotive only a few days ago – will have its first on-track running next week with Ozz Negri, John Pew and AJ Allmendinger in the two-day test at Daytona International Speedway.
Allmendinger will test on Wednesday, November 18, before heading to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale.
Negri and Pew are once again confirmed for another season as teammates, with Allmendinger set for his usual Rolex 24 at Daytona appearance and a fourth driver to be confirmed at a later date.