With a fast, young and untamed driver on his hands, and the season quickly drawing to a close, Grand-Am Rolex Series team owner Michael Shank has made a change to the lineup his No. 6 entry. IndyCar Series star Justin Wilson, who recently teamed with Rolex Series rookie Gustavo Yacaman at the Sahlen’s 6 Hours of the Glen event, has been signed to bring speed to the program and, if all goes according to plan, a calming influence to the crash-prone 21-year-old.
“Gus is rapidly developing as a racing driver; we’re seeing him grow and mature at every round and with Justin, you aren’t going to find a guy who brings a steadier or more analytical approach to driving than him,” Shank told RACER. “Justin’s the ultimate teammate in the sense that he’s fast, he’s relaxed, he’s race winner in everything he drives, and with some of the changes we’ve had to make in the No. 6 recently, I thought it was best to bring Justin in for the last four races and let him work with Gus to finish the year strong.”
Yacaman, who despite his youth came into Shank’s Riley-Ford Daytona Prototype program with seven years of open-wheel ladder series training, started off the season with ex-Formula 1 and Champ Car pilot Antonio Pizzonia as his teammate. Outright pace was never a concern with Yacaman, but back-to-back crashes at Belle Isle in Detroit and at Mid-Ohio involving the No. 01 Ganassi entry led to the Colombian being placed on probation by the series.
With Pizzonia’s sponsorship running dry last month, and little hope of the No. 6 moving up in the championship standings due to the aforementioned crashes, Shank began to experiment with driver pairings, drafting Wilson in for the Watkins Glen round and placing current NASCAR and IndyCar driver AJ Allmendinger alongside Yacaman for the next round at Indianapolis.
Wilson, who also drives for the Dale Coyne Racing IndyCar team, will complete the remainder of the Grand-Amseason which happens to fit between IndyCar rounds starting at Road America, continuing through Kansas Speedway, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and the series finale at Lime Rock Park.