Michael Shank Racing has bolstered its line-up for the upcoming Rolex 24 at Daytona with a pair of IndyCar stars. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal will complete the team’s complement of Acura NSX GT3 drivers at the season-opening IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship enduro on Jan. 28-29.
The IndyCar veterans will join MSR’s full-season drivers Andy Lally, Katherine Legge, Ozz Negri and Jeff Segal as well as endurance event drivers Tom Dyer and Mark Wilkins, aboard the No. 86 and No. 93 GT Daytona class Acura NSX GT3s.
Both Hunter-Reay and Rahal have already driven for the Michael Shank Racing operation at the Rolex 24 in Daytona Prototype competition. Fellow Ohio native Rahal drove the No. 60 Ford-Riley with Negri, Mark Patterson and Justin Wilson when the team scored the pole position and went on to finish sixth in the endurance event in 2008.
In 2009, Hunter-Reay drove the No. 60 Ford-Riley with his former driver coach Negri, along with Patterson and Colin Braun. A mechanical issue took the team out of contention that year.
“We are obviously very excited to have Ryan and Graham back with us again for the 24,” said team owner Mike Shank. “No matter what class you are racing, how you can work through traffic is always important in the 24. So with Ryan and Graham both having experience driving different classes of cars in this race, hopefully that just adds to our strength for the 24. Speed is key, but experience is also critical so to have Ryan and Graham back with us is another great addition for this effort.”
The 2017 running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona will mark Hunter-Reay’s 11th consecutive start in the event, the Texas native having scored three podium results with a best finish of second in 2013. Rahal has made eight starts in the 24-hour endurance classic and won the race in 2011 with Chip Ganassi Racing.
Hunter-Reay and Rahal join Lally, Legge, Negri and Segal for the two-day open test next week at Daytona. All eight drivers will take part in the Jan. 6-8 “Roar Before the 24,” the final open test prior to the Jan. 28-29 race.