IndyCar driver Justin Wilson is looking forward to his return to racing this weekend when he joins Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian in the much anticipated 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona. The classic endurance event at Daytona International Speedway kicks off the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship and marks the traditional start of the new motorsport season. Justin will share driving duties in the No. 60 LiveOn.com Daytona Prototype with former Champ Car RuSPORT team-mate, now NASCAR Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger and MSR’s full time pilots Ozz Negri and two-time Pro-Am Champion John Pew.
Twice runner-up at the Rolex, the 2012 edition will be Justin’s fifth race at Daytona and his fourth with MSR. Having sampled the team’s new Ford-Riley Daytona Prototype during the recent Roar Before the 24 test days, he believes the No. 60 car is in good shape for a strong result this weekend.
“I’m looking forward to the race,” said Justin. “The key is working out some of the changes we made and making sure we really understand and know what we’re doing. The conditions change so much. The temperature changes - obviously the middle of the night is much colder than the middle of the day so it’s just getting a good handle on that so we can attack in every condition and situation. I think we’ve made some good changes on the car that will allow us to do that.”
This will be MSR’s ninth appearance at the 24-hour classic and the team has fielded a multi-car campaign in every Rolex 24 event since 2006. MSR’s No. 6 Ford-Riley will be shared by NASCAR driver and Rolex 24 veteran Michael McDowell (United States) and three young drivers who will make their Rolex 24 debut: Jorge Goncalvez (Venezuela), Felipe Nasr (Brazil), and Gustavo Yacaman (Colombia).
Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian has put in countless hours of preparation in the hope that 2012 will be their year to earn the Rolex 24 title. The team knows what it takes to survive the twice around the clock event having fielded a three-car effort last year. In an impressive performance, none of the cars went to the garage and all three machines were still running at the end of the 24 hours. The No. 23 Ford-Riley finished on the lead lap in fourth place after a strong late-race charge for the podium. A year ago Justin shared the No. 6 car with AJ and Michael McDowell, the trio leading 32 laps and in podium contention for the first 16 hours of the race before throttle and suspension problems saw them drop laps to the leaders on Sunday morning.
“The team has been working incredibly hard over the last few weeks,” said Mike Shank. “We’re as ready as we can be and we’re eager to get going. I’m very proud of the effort this whole team has put in, and I’m very excited about our chances this year. We’ve got an exciting line up of guys, and we know that this race will be as much about performance as it will be about patience.”
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