Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Set for Petit Le Mans Debut


Atlanta, Ga. (1 October 2014) – Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian will be back in IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship action this weekend as the Columbus-based team heads south to Road Atlanta for the season-finale event.

Michael Shank Racing drivers John Pew and Ozz Negri will partner in the No. 60 Ford EcoBoost/Riley entry in the Prototype class. The duo made a front row start at Long Beach earlier this season and scored a dramatic second place finish at Road America last month. The team has actively developed the first-year Ford EcoBoost/Riley package in its first season of IMSA competition and is looking to put the lessons learned this season to good use in the finale.

The car will not only carry some well-earned know-how on the inside but it will also carry the faces of hundreds of Michael Shank Racing fans on the outside as the car sports a special livery for the 14th running of the Petit Le Mans. The “Shank Fan Shots Car” is just the latest one-off livery that the team has created in partnership with AERO Paints as Shank looks to pay tribute to the legions of fans that have supported the squad through all the years.

Despite that long history, over a decade of racing at the top Prototype ranks, the race weekend marks the first ever Petit Le Mans appearance for the team. The team has experience at the track, having notched a fourth place finish in its first-ever run on the 2.54-mile natural terrain circuit outside of Atlanta. But with an entirely different set of technical regulations as well as a new combination with the EcoBoost power, there will be a lot to learn quickly for the team as it prepares to take on the blue riband event.

Fortunately, the driver squad will be a big part of that progress, as both Pew and Negri have experience on the track, with Negri also having raced in the 2013 Petit Le Mans to close out the American Le Mans Series era. Teaming in a LMPC, Negri led the 2013 race overall before coming home in second place in challenging mixed conditions.

The effort will not only feature an experienced and speedy driver pairing, a distinctive one-off livery, and the culmination of a year’s worth of progress, but it will also be a demonstration of the incredible physical preparation from the drivers as Pew and Negri prepare to be the only 2-driver line up in the Prototype ranks through the 10-hour endurance challenge.

“I’m hoping we can come out of this race with a big finish,” said Negri. “It will be very challenging with all the traffic but I’m excited about it. Having just two drivers I think will be an advantage for us. Of course it will be tough, but this is exactly what John and I train so hard to be prepared to do and I can’t think of a better partner for this. We’ve had some ups and downs this year and some bad luck but we know that if things fall our way, we are ready to make the most of the opportunity.”

With 10 hours between green and checkered flags, the 54-car field will be a non-stop blur of passing as four classes claw for track position on the the 2.54-mile circuit.

“I know it is going to be very busy, every lap,” said Pew. “But you just have to stay focused on the bigger goal for the race and be as patient as possible in traffic. Which of course for all the drivers is its own big challenge! I think that if we can stay out of trouble through the day and keep our noses clean, hopefully we can make the most of the cooler temperatures at night with the EcoBoost and end the season on a really high note.”

The most recent round at the Circuit of the Americas saw a strong outing lose momentum with some bad luck timing on a mid-race yellow flag. But the team is looking to convert the same strong preparation and hard work into a big result to close out the weekend.

“It is better that it is them than me doing it!” joked team owner Mike Shank on the endurance run ahead for Pew and Negri. “John and Ozz are going to be busy out there. This has been a long year for the guys, but there would be nothing better than to come out of here with a trophy. This is a big race and we are up for it. We’ve prepared specifically for this race for a long time and we know that it will be a quick pace, but we all have to make good decisions for 10 hours.”

Four practice sessions will be held ahead of a Friday evening qualifying session which begins at 5:25 PM ET. The Petit Le Mans will go green at 11:15 AM ET on Saturday. LIVE coverage will be carried via video streaming on IMSA.com with FOX Sports 2 to broadcast the race in progress at 3:00 PM ET.

Live timing and scoring is available throughout the weekend at www.imsa.com.