It looked like Ohio-based Michael Shank Racing would be the sole representative for Ford’s new EcoBoost turbo Daytona Prototype program in 2014, but with today’s confirmation of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates as the brand’s new anchor team, the MSR program has a new and foreboding member of the Blue Oval family to contend with.
Despite being away on vacation, Shank updated RACER on the status of his plans for next season, and says the CGRwFS announcement will not negatively impact his team.
?The Ganassi program does not affect our plans at all for 2014,? he explained. ?Ford has committed more resources to make sure both our teams can win with the EcoBoost platform.?
This isn’t the first time Shank and Ganassi have worked with the same manufacturer in DP, nor was the Ganassi signing unexpected.
?It was not really a surprise, and If you recall, Ganassi and our team where together for four years with Lexus,? he added. ?It was fine then, as I suspect it will be fine now. Adding a team doesn’t take away from the other; it just means we’ll have more overall resources contributing to making the EcoBoost platform a winner. 2014 will be our seventh season with Ford, and we have a long term contract in place with Ford. I bleed Ford blue…?
The next step for MSR will be to get its 2014-spec EcoBoost DP out and testing with the necessary engine and aerodynamic parts in place.
?We are working with Roush/Yates to get all the parts we need ASAP,? Shank continued. ?From my perspective, we are both Ford teams and need to win for Ford. MSR is a team player and will make sure we conduct ourselves accordingly. The timing of getting all the new parts together is a big challenge; it’s horrible in all regards because of all the new things coming on-line. We would have that problem to deal with regardless of whether another team had been signed.
?A lot of teams are scrambling to get what they need to go testing with the 2014 DPs. When we have everything, you will see our fully updated cars on track. Some of the parts will come a bit later in December but by the time we roll into our first three-day test, all the updates will be on car.
Sorting out MSR’s full-season plans has also occupied Shank’s time, with budgeting for a second entry at the top of the list.
?We will be one car for the full season for sure and hopefully two,? he said. ?We have not got the second deal done yet though, but we are trying very hard. Additionally, our commercial sales are starting to gain more steam and we will have sponsors to announce in the near future. For sure, the new series has some commercial zing.?