John Pew will team up with Oswaldo “Ozz” Negri and Belgium racer Laurens Vanthrox to drive for Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, June 17-18. In fact, Pew, who won the 2015 Trueman Award as the top semi-pro racer in the IMSA WeatherTech Prototype championshipis credited with getting Michael Shank Racing invited to the “dance” this year. Onroak and Honda which will serve as technical partners for the No. 60 Ligier JS P2 Honda car to debut there.
“When I first started with Michael Shank Racing in 2007, I never thought that this all would eventually lead to a 2016 Le Mans entry in an LMP2 car,” and excited Pew.told AutoWeek.
While Vanthrox will make his team debut for Shank during the big race, it will actually be the 2nd time he will compete at Le Mans.In the meantime, team owner Michael Shank announced that the “international alliance” will serve as an extension of his plans to contest the IMSA WeatherTech Championship with full-season drivers Pew and Negri, beginning with the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Jan. 30-31.
“This is a big announcement and a very big project for my entire organization,” stated Shank. “It is one of the great things about our sport — we can compete on a world level and this gives us the first shot to be able to do that. This collaboration with Onroak is a very big part of our ability to do this, and of course getting the invitation from the ACO is critical, so we appreciate IMSA having the relationship with the organizers that they do.”
Michael Shank Racing, which is based in Columbus, Ohio, won the pole at the 2105 Rolex 24 at Daytona, and earned 3 podiums last year using the Ligier JS P2 Honda platform. It will partner with Onroak and Honda which will serve as technical.
Before becoming a team owner, Michael Shank, 49, began as a driver beginning in 1989, and won the SCCA Ohio Valley Region’s Novice Driver of the Year his 1st season. . He also won the 1996 Player’s/Toyota Atlantic C2 championship, and ran running 1 race in the 1996–97 Indy Racing League season, the 1997 Las Vegas 500K at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After forming Michael Shank Racing, he was car owner for Sam Hornish, Jr. when he won the 1999Formula Atlantic series Rookie of the Year title. In 2006, his car, driven by Justin Wilson, A. J. Allmendinger, Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson, finished in 2nd position overall and in the Daytona Prototype class in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Shank has been named Formula Atlantic Team Owner of the Year twice.