Thanks to the help from Elan Motorsports, based in Braselton, repairs are underway to the tub of the Ligier JS P2 Honda for Michael Shank Racing as it seeks to make the grid for Saturday’s Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda.
Shank told Sportscar365 late Thursday night, following an accident when John Pew hydroplaned coming through Turn 12 onto the front straight, that the team’s tub was damaged and needed to be surveyed to see if it could be fixed.
But numerous senior IMSA officials, including Chairman Jim France and President/COO Scott Atherton, stopped by the Shank transporter last night to see what could be done to help.
Shank and Tim Keene, DeltaWing Racing Cars team manager, connected late last night and the chassis was brought to Elan Motorsports for repairs.
The tub has now been repaired and the team is not only seeking to just make the grid, but potentially get out on track by Friday afternoon’s qualifying session, slated for 4:35 p.m.
“I got a text from Tim Keene at DeltaWing and Elan Motorsports at eight this morning saying the tub was done, so that’s unbelievable,” Shank said.
“They worked all night. My faith was renewed again in humanity after the huge outpouring for Justin (Wilson), but now this is just ridiculous.
“The racing community just boggles my mind. We want to tear each other apart every weekend but when something goes wrong all they do is contribute.
“We owe them a lot and there is definitely a big gift card coming to those boys that worked all night last night.”
Keene elaborated on the efforts to get Shank’s car back together.
“I made contact with Mike shortly after the accident, at the same time as Scott Atherton was trying to get him in touch with Elan,” Keene said. “I told our crew chief, Stef (Chistel), who was still at the track, and he went to take a look at the car.
“He thought it could be repaired, so we let Mike know that we had guys lined up willing to work through the night til it got done.
“They got the car to the shop around midnight. Stef and I left around 1:00 a.m. Mike Bryant (Elan Motorsports manufacturing director), Howie Udall and Paul Matthews worked through the night.
“I checked with Mike Bryant at 7 a.m. to see how things were going and he said the car would be ready to be picked up at 9 a.m.
“I sent Mike Shank a note and he was over the moon, he couldn’t believe it. They were expecting to get it later today and work through the night themselves. They’ll definitely make the race and hopefully they’ll make qualifying.
“The worst part of the damage was the upper wishbone mounting point, which was pushed in. They were able to do a good repair that will be safe and let the car run well.
“It will need to go to Ligier for a proper, better looking repair when the weekend is over but the main thing is to get them through this event.
“It’s nice to be able to do something for someone else, especially with the Justin Wilson cause.
“I spoke with Don this morning and we’re donating half the cost of the repair to the Wilson Children’s Fund.”