HPD Racing Report
Sunday, April 19, 2015
TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase
Circuit: Grand Prix of Long Beach (1.968 mile temporary street circuit), Long Beach CA
2014 Winner: Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas (Chip Ganassi Racing)
Weather: Sunny, mild, 73 degrees F
Sixth Place Finish for Honda, Michael Shank Racing at Long Beach
· First temporary street circuit event for Honda-powered Ligier chassis
· First sprint event of the 2015 season
· Pit strategy gamble comes up short
A gamble on an early pit stop Saturday at the Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase failed to pay off for Michael Shank Racing and Honda, as an anticipated full-course caution never came during the one hour, 40-minute race on the Long Beach, California, temporary street circuit, resulting in a sixth-place finish for the Honda-powered Ligier JSP2 piloted by drivers Ozz Negri and John Pew.
After starting seventh with Pew at the controls, the Shank team elected to gamble on race strategy, pitting at the 35-minute mark for fuel, tires and a driver change to Negri, in the hope that a full-course caution would close up the field and put Negri in position for a strong run to the finish. But the race ran caution-free for all 78 laps, leaving Negri unable to recover the track position lost in the early stop and resulting in an uneventful run to a sixth-place result.
The Ligier chassis fielded by MSR is powered by a production-based 2.8-liter Honda HR28TT V6 engine, developed for competition by HPD from the Honda “J35” series of passenger vehicle V6 engines, with improvements including twin turbochargers. Key production-based components include the block and cylinder heads, direct-injection fuel system, valve train components, drive-by-wire throttle, alternator, sensors and fasteners. The engine even features a stock Honda oil filter.
Video recaps from this weekend’s Honda racing activities in Long Beach, including Indy car, TUDOR sports cars and Acura Pirelli World Challenge efforts, 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 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship continues its West Coast run May 3 with the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Michael Shank (team owner, #60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier-Honda): “The car was pretty good in the race, we just lost some track position [with the early pit stop]. We’ll turn the page onto the next one, and we think the Ligier is pretty well suited for Laguna [Seca, next stop on the 2015 schedule]. We want to come off the trailer strong and see where it puts us at the end of the day. We should be pretty competitive there, so we’re cautiously optimistic.”