Michael Shank says his former Acura NSX GT3 factory program is close to returning as an independently-run effort in IMSA’s GT Daytona class.
Along with the confirmation of an expanded presence as an entrant in the Verizon IndyCar Series, Shank expects to make a formal announcement for his Ohio-based team at December’s Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis.
“Sports car is absolutely my backbone to my business,” Shank said in a visit to the Week in IndyCar podcast. “It put us in a position to do what we did this year at Indy, and it will put us in a position next year to be in the IndyCar Series.
“Our goal is to have two have two NSXs in the IMSA GTD category for 2018, of which I can tell you, one is totally done, that deal is done. We’re not allowed to have full-factory deals, so we’re putting the puzzle pieces together with budget.”
With the granting of a one-year exception for Acura (and Lexus) to compete in GTD as full-fledged works programs, Michael Shank Racing, along with the 3GT team behind the Lexus RC F GT3 effort, will return as privateers in the Pro-Am class.
Under the Acura banner with full financial support from Acura, MSR won two WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD races in 2017 with factory drivers Andy Lally and Katherine Legge, while teammates Ozz Negri and Jeff Segal produced a number of strong finishes in the sister entry.
Under IMSA’s Pro-Am edict, the removal of Acura’s factory support has led to a 100 percent change in MSR’s driver roster as 2018 approaches. Andy Lally signed to drive for Magnus Racing, Jeff Segal signed with Scuderia Corsa, and both Legge and Negri continue to search for drives.