Honda, Michael Shank Racing Persevere at Long Beach
· Ozz Negri, John Pew pilot Ligier-Honda to seventh-place finish
· First street race of 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Michael Shank Racing, with drivers Ozz Negri and John Pew, brought its Ligier-Honda home to a seventh-place finish Saturday on the streets of Long Beach, California, in the BUBBA Burger Sports Car Grand Prix of Long Beach, the first of two sprint format temporary street circuit events in the 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Following Honda-powered victories at the two opening endurance races this year – the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring – the Shank team came to Long Beach with realistic expectations following “balance of performance” adjustments made to the twin-turbocharged Honda V6 engine.
Starting eighth in the hands of Pew, the Shank team enjoyed a trouble-free run throughout the 100-minute contest, with Pew handing off to co-driver Negri at the single scheduled mid-race pit stop. Negri’s run to the checkers was likewise free of any incidents or issues, but the team was only able to improve one position, finishing seventh.
Video News Releases from this weekend’s Honda Racing and Acura Motorsports action at Long Beach can be found on the “Honda Racing/HPD Trackside” YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found in the 2016 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship stays in California for the next round in the 10-race championship, the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix, May 1 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Ozz Negri (#60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier Honda) on today’s race: “We try our hardest day-in and day-out, and today was no exception. Being behind the [sixth place] number 90 [Corvette] car at the end of the race was pretty frustrating, because I could get close to him under braking, but coming out of the corner he would just disappear from me. I hope the series will review the BOP [Balance of Performance] and that we can get [the adjustments] we deserve. We have to be proud of the improvement we made in the car from this race last year. If we had the same [torque] as the Daytona Prototypes have, we’d be able to give them a run for their money. It’s really frustrating to be going flat-out and see a car ahead of you just drive away.”
Michael Shank (team owner, Michael Shank Racing): “The car was pretty good, but we just didn’t have the acceleration. From top to bottom, from the crew to the drivers, everyone executed exactly how we had hoped. So, no complaints there at all. I’m pleased with everything this team has done, the car is much better than it was last year.”