Honda Racing Report
Sunday, July 10, 2016
WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix
Circuit: Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (2.459-mile road course) Bowmanville, Ont.
Weather: Mostly sunny, mild, 73 degrees F
Honda, Michael Shank Racing Finish Sixth in Canada
· Spin, penalty hobble Honda and MSR victory hopes
· Tight Manufacturers’ Championship battle continues
Despite a disappointing sixth-place finish Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Michael Shank Racing kept Honda in the thick of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Manufacturers’ Championship after seven rounds in the 10-race endurance racing series.
In the hands of drivers Oswaldo “Ozz” Negri and John Pew, the MSR Ligier JS P2 Honda was at or near the top of the time sheets throughout pre-race practice. With Pew at the wheel for the start of the two-hour, 40-minute contest, the MSR Ligier Honda ran with the group of leading prototypes until contact with a slower LMPC-class car resulted in a spin and loss of a lap to the leaders.
Taking over driving duties at the first scheduled pit stop, Negri and the MSR team attempted to take advantage of a mid-race, full-course caution to get back on the lead lap, but an error during the “wave around” process resulted in a two-minute “stop-and-hold” penalty for the team, ending its chances for a victory. Negri and the team persevered for a sixth-place finish, keeping Honda second in the full-season WeatherTech SportsCar Manufacturers’ Championship, just nine points out of the lead, with three victories in seven races this year.
Honda continues to lead the Manufacturers’ Championship in the series-within-a-series Tequila Patron North American Endurance Championship, after opening the season with a pair of wins at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil One 12 Hours of Sebring, followed by a third-place result last weekend at Watkins Glen International Raceway in New York. The four-race NAEC concludes with the season-ending, 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in October.
Next up for the 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be the series’ annual visit to the scenic Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for the August 7 Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.
John Pew (#60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier Honda): “It didn’t take long [in the race] before we got into traffic and it was tough, because every lap was different. The biggest problem for me was the [rubber] ‘pick up’ on the tires, because you’d go off line to get around traffic, which would get pick up on the tires and the car would be slower and hard to handle for a while after that. It was a tough day for the team. But we’ll get rested and ready for Road America next month.”
Michael Shank (team owner, Michael Shank Racing): "Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong today. It was tough, but the crew did a great job. They reacted in real time to everything quickly, and I’m proud of the guys for sticking with it until the end. It was just a tough deal, a ‘perfect storm’ of issues today. We’ll learn from them and move on from here.”
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Manufacturers’ Championship (unofficial, after 7 of 10 races):
1. Chevrolet 236 points (4 wins)
2. Honda 227 (3 wins)
3. Mazda 212
4. BMW 81
5. Ford 30
IMSA Tequila Patron North American Endurance Championship (unofficial, after 3 of 4 races):
1. Honda 41 points (2 wins)
1. Chevrolet 40 (1 win)
3. Mazda 22
4. BMW 19
5. Ford 12