|Shank will run an Acura NSX GT3|
Michael Shank Racing is set to continue racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTD class in 2018, this time as a customer-based operation rather than a factory-supported effort with a single NSX GT3 for the full season, and an additional car for the endurance rounds.
Justin Marks and Lawson Aschenbach will share the full-season driving duties in the #93 Acura NSX GT3. The American duo will be joined by German ace Mario Farnbacher for the endurance events in 2018, while 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona winner AJ Allmendinger will return to the team for the 2018 Rolex 24 event in the car.
The second Acura NSX GT3 entry, focused on taking the 2018 IMSA Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup, will see Katherine Legge, who took two victories on board the Acura NSX GT3 with the team last year, co-drive with 2016 PWC champion Alvaro Parente in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, Watkins Glen Six Hour, and Petit Le Mans. The team will announce the full line-up in the new year.
“We learned so much with this program last year and I was very proud to represent Acura and bring home a pair of wins with the NSX in its first season," said Shank. “The NSX is phenomenal and we want to build on what we’ve learned so far. I’m very pleased to have two big talents in Justin (Marks) and Lawson (Aschenbach) come on board—their records speak for themselves.
“Having the second entry for the long races and maybe some additional events will also be a boost for the program, between what Katherine (Legge) already knows about this car from last year and having a guy like Alvaro (Parente) join us, that will be a second bullet for us in the long races. And people are going to love how these cars are going to look."
Aschenbach added: “I’m extremely excited to be joining Michael Shank Racing in 2018. This team has the professionalism and dedication needed for success. From top to bottom you can see that everyone has a common goal, and that is to win. This is the type of environment that drivers dream about. It’s going to be fun teaming up with my buddy Justin Marks. He’s a great friend and we are both excited to be pushing for podiums and wins with Michael Shank Racing and the Acura NSX GT3."
And Parente, who has been racing in the USA for the past two years in PWC as a McLaren factory driver with K-PAX Racing, said: “I have a good feeling about joining Michael Shank Racing, knowing how successful the team was last year and seeing the strong performances in the races. I really look forward working with the team and working hard for good results this coming season. Speaking to Mike (Shank), I can understand straight away how serious and determined everyone is, and that is also my style so think we can have a good season together.
“I raced against the Acura last year in PWC and saw some great progression and some good results and even more so with MSR in the IMSA championship."