Legge, Negri Keep Honda in Championship Hunt with Fifth-Place Finish in Detroit
Honda Racing Report
Saturday, June 4, 2016
Detroit Sports Car Classic
Circuit: Belle Isle Park (2.35-mile temporary street circuit) Detroit, MI
Weather: Partly sunny, warm, 80 degrees F
Honda, Michael Shank Racing Finish Fifth in Detroit
· Ozz Negri, Katherine Legge pilot Ligier-Honda to points-earning result
· Late-race mechanical issue prevents podium finish
· Tight Manufacturers’ Championship battle continues
Michael Shank Racing, with drivers Ozz Negri and Katherine Legge, persevered for a fifth-place finish Saturday at the Detroit Sports Car Classic on the temporary street circuit at Belle Isle Park. The hard-fought result keeps Honda in the thick of a tight Manufacturers’ Championship battle midway through the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Making her debut with MSR and the Honda prototype effort, Legge qualified the Ligier JSP2 Honda fifth and started the one hour, 40-minute race. A trouble-free opening stint saw her pit from fourth place during a full-course caution on Lap 25, handing over the car to Negri.
Resuming in fourth, Negri was preparing for the green flag when a broken rear suspension rocker arm bolt forced him to pit for repairs. The long stop cost the Honda-powered effort three laps in the pits, and ended hopes of a top-three finish for the team. Once repairs were complete, Negri returned to the circuit for an uneventful run to the checkers and a fifth-place finish.
As a result, Honda is second in the season-long Manufacturers’ Championship, just one point out of the lead, with three victories in five races this year. After opening the season with a pair of wins at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring, Honda continues to hold a single-point lead in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Championship for the four long-distance races of the season.
Video recaps from this weekend’s Honda activities at Detroit, including two Verizon IndyCar Series races and Saturday’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, are being posted on the "Honda Racing/HPD" YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found in the 2015 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.
The 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship now takes a one-month break for teams, including Honda’s Michael Shank Racing, taking part in the World Endurance Championship’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The series resumes July 3 with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International Raceway in upstate New York, the third round of the series-within-a-series Tequila Patron North American Endurance Championship.
Ozz Negri (#60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier Honda): “Our car is not really designed for this [very rough, temporary street circuit] type of track. We run the car pretty stiff and it took a lot of beating, so we broke a rear suspension part. After that, I knew we had to do something for Honda and my team, because they put a lot of effort into this. So I went back out and brought the car home. Fifth is more points in the championship, and that was our job today.”
Katherine Legge (#60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier Honda): “I really enjoyed my experience with Michael Shank Racing, and working with Honda and Ozz [Negri] as well – he was fantastic. We didn’t get a great start, unfortunately, but I was playing it ultra-cautious. The goal for me was to hand over the car to Ozz in good shape, so I achieved my goal. It’s not the result we were hoping for, but it was a great learning experience for me.”
Allen Miller (Race Team Leader, Honda Performance Development): "It looked like we were headed for a podium finish, as I think we had something for the third-place car over the second half of the race, but unfortunately, the broken bolt took us out of contention for a top-three finish. The team could’ve given up and called it a day, but instead chose to make the repairs and fight on. That netted us a fifth-place result, and some very valuable championship points. Now we return to permanent road courses for the rest of the season, and I believe more good results will be coming our way.”
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Manufacturers’ Championship (after 5 of 10 races):
1. Chevrolet 166 points (2 wins)
2. Honda 165 (3 wins)
3. Mazda 150
4. BMW 56
5. Ford 30
IMSA Tequila Patron North American Endurance Championship (after 2 of 4 races):
1. Honda 32 points (2 wins)
1. Chevrolet 31
3. Mazda 16
4. BMW 15
5. Ford 12