AIM Autosport Drivers Join Michael Shank Racing For Rolex 24

Michael Shank Racing announced today that AIM Autosport Rolex Sports Car Series drivers Mark Wilkins and Burt Frisselle will join the team for the 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona as part of Michael Shank Racing’s two-car Daytona Prototype entry. Wilkins and Frisselle will join John Pew and Ozz Negri to pilot the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford-powered Riley machine as the duo look to get the 2010 season off to a fast start.

The collaboration marks the continuation of a long-held working relationship between AIM Autosport principal Ian Wills and Michael Shank Racing, going back to Willis having worked with the team as an engineer in Formula Atlantic competition.

The Rolex 24 effort will see Wilkins and Frisselle piloting some familiar machinery, as the Ford-Riley combination is one that saw AIM Autosport break through for race wins in 2008.

The 2010 race will mark Wilkins’ seventh Rolex 24 start as he looks to improve upon his previous best finish in the event, having scored 3rd in the SGS class in his 2004 debut and then again taking to the Rolex podium with another 3rd place finish in the GT class in the 2005 Rolex 24.

“I’m really happy to joining Michael Shank Racing for the 24 and I think we have a great opportunity for a good result this year," said Wilkins, who took pole position at Daytona International Speedway in the July, 2008 Rolex event. “AIM Autosport has always worked well with the Shank guys, and I’m looking forward to racing with the team and hopefully coming home with a strong finish."

While he has yet to experience the champagne celebrations at Daytona, Frisselle will look to change that this year as he hopes to make the most of his own long history with the Columbus-based team. Frisselle was part of the 2008 Rolex 24 Michael Shank Racing effort that saw the team in contention for the win in endurance classic, only to suffer from a mechanical set-back late in the race.

“Every time I get to drive for Michael Shank Racing, it’s like being with an old friend again because I’ve known those guys for so long and have experienced so much with them that it can feel like coming home," said Frisselle, who took a podium finish in his Rolex Sports Car Series debut with the team in 2004. “Hopefully we can turn all the experience we have together into an advantage for us over the course of 24 hours. This is a really tough race, but Michael Shank Racing is one of the best-prepared teams and I’m really looking forward to this opportunity."

“If Mark and Burt can’t be in the AIM No. 61 for the 24, I can’t think of a better alternative than to have them drive for Mike and team with John Pew and Ozz," said Willis, who also worked as a spotter for Michael Shank Racing during the team’s run to 2nd overall in the 2006 running of the Rolex 24. “We have a lot of respect for the program that Mike (Shank) puts together and we’ve seen first-hand how competitive this team is so we know that Mark and Burt are in good hands for the 24!"

“Obviously Mark and Burt bring a lot of experience with the Ford-Riley package and we know that they are going to be a great fit with the team," said team owner Mike Shank. “To have guys that you know what they bring to the table and can feel comfortable that they can both get in there and be effective right away is a great asset, so we are just looking forward to getting down to Daytona and going to work."

Michael Shank Racing will travel south for the Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway on January 8-10, and will announce additional plans in the coming days, with AIM Autosport also set to announce plans for the 2010 season shortly.

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