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Shank Rules Out Prototype for 2017

Michael Shank rules out Prototype effort for next year…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Michael Shank Racing will focus its entire 2017 effort on its new factory GT Daytona deal with Acura, having effectively ruled out a Prototype program in next year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The Ohio-based team, which will be making its 250th prototype start in next weekend’s Petit Le Mans with Ozz Negri, John Pew and Olivier Pla in its Ligier JS P2 Honda, will exit the P class following the 10-hour enduro at Road Atlanta.

“As it sits, 99.9 percent [unlikely for Prototype in 2017],” Shank told Sportscar365 last weekend at Circuit of The Americas. “It would take the right program, but it would have to be brought to me by them probably.

“We’re going to focus on [the Acura NSX GT3] and let it take us where it takes us.”

The longtime DP entrant shifted to P2 racing in 2014, which began his relationship with Honda Performance Development and led to the team’s two-car Acura NSX GT3 program.

With the coveted factory effort having been courted by multiple teams, Shank admitted he had another plan in place should he had not landed the deal for next year.

“In any business, whether it’s racing or selling golf balls, I had an ‘A’ plan and this is it, and I was working but I was highly developed on my ‘B’ plan,” he said.

“Picking what prototype chassis to go with right now is a little bit like Russian roulette.

“In some regards, I’m glad I don’t have to make a decision right now. It went out way but we had a backup plan. We would have been in Prototype, at some level.”

While MSR’s shift to the GTD ranks will not include its longtime driver John Pew, Shank hasn’t discounted an eventual return to Prototype class in the future.

It’s understood Honda is planning a DPi program for 2018, although its choice of partner team or teams remains unclear.

“At some time, absolutely,” Shank said on a possible P class return.” That’s what we were brought and raised on here. All my connections there are solid and the plan I was working on before… this is easy to take up again.”

Shank, who made his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut this year, has also ruled out a return to the French endurance classic next year.

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 Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John



  1. kv

    September 20, 2016 at 10:22 am

    HONDA knows its purpose is better served by the more experienced ,better funded ESM squad .The Ligier 217 p-2 is designed with adaptability to DPi and for use of multiple power plants !

    • Greg

      September 20, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      except ESM just signed a deal with Nissan for next year.

  2. John

    September 20, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Who is writing these articles? Unreadable. So many mistakes.

    • John Dagys

      September 20, 2016 at 10:46 am

      I’m sorry you feel this way but I have to ask you what “mistakes’ are in this story?

      • Jess

        September 20, 2016 at 10:56 am

        John I am looking for those mistakes and cant find them Jus your usual excellent job.

      • Joe

        September 20, 2016 at 12:17 pm

        Perhaps he was referring to 1 (or more if I missed ’em) quotes from Shank. One of them (see below) is worded oddly. But I don’t know, I’m just guessing, what do I know.

        “In some regards, I’m glad I don’t have to make a decision right now. It went out way but we had a backup plan. We would have been in Prototype, at some level.”

      • Claxon

        September 20, 2016 at 2:31 pm

        There are routinely grammatical mistakes, typos, extra words left hanging in this and other articles here. I understand the pressure of getting these stories out in timely fashion but the writing should be cleaned up.

    • colquhoun

      September 20, 2016 at 10:50 am

      Trolling so hard. As usual, great article John.

      • colquhoun

        September 20, 2016 at 10:51 am

        John Dagys that is!

    • PK

      September 20, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      Please. John and his staff write some of the tightest, cleanest, BEST copy in global motorsports reporting.

      • claxon

        September 20, 2016 at 3:25 pm

        “…some of the tightest, cleanest, BEST copy in global motorsports reporting”

        Frankly, that’s not a high standard to meet. And it doesn’t change the fact that the writing/editing here is not up to the quality it should be.

        From typos to grammatical issues, there’s room for improvement.

  3. 7D3

    September 20, 2016 at 10:26 am

    MSR’s Ligier JSP2 is defiantly going to be a Prototype/LMP2 I will miss.

    They had a good run at Le Mans. Well Done and good luck with the NSX.

  4. Doug

    September 20, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Looks like we’ll have very few DPi entrants and probably a couple of P2 for P class next year.

    • Joe

      September 20, 2016 at 10:48 am

      From what I’ve read, 5-7 DPis, 3-4 P2 (this from an amalgam of sources including this site,, and

  5. Mike S

    September 20, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Yeah there might be maybe 8 or 9 cars for the NAEC but for the entire campaign probably 6 or 7 is all that isn’t a good number if that is the count. Hope I am wrong. Okay add in the Delta Wing for 7-8.

    • Olly

      September 20, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      Deltawing won’t compete in IMSA next year.

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