Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (2.238 mile road course), Monterey, CA
2014 Winner: Ed Brown/Johannes van Overbeek ( ESM Racing HPD ARX-03b Honda)
Weather: Mostly sunny, mild, 73 degrees F
Podium Finish for Honda, Michael Shank Racing in Monterey
- Team perseveres after mid-race contact to finish third
- Ligier Honda is quickest in every practice session, sets fastest race lap
- Best finish of 2015 for Michael Shank Racing
A gritty drive after mid-race contact had damaged the bodywork and suspension of their Michael Shank Racing Ligier JSP2 Honda netted a third-place finish Sunday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for co-drivers Oswaldo Negri and John Pew.
Starting fifth after his best qualifying performance of the season, Pew held station with the lead group through the first round of pit stops in the two-hour, 40-minute TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race, then handed the controls over to Negri. But contact with the Corvette prototype of Dane Cameron on a restart left the Ligier Honda with a bent steering arm and damaged left-side bodywork.
Unable to quite match its earlier pace – when MSR led every practice session prior to the race start – Negri recovered from the resulting off-course run and still managed to pass the Corvette prototypes of Cameron and Joao Barbosa to finish third, the best result of 2015 for the Shank organization.
The Ligier chassis fielded by MSR is powered by a production-based 2.8-liter Honda HR28TT V6 engine, developed for competition by HPD from the Honda “J35” series of passenger vehicle V6 engines, with improvements including twin turbochargers. Key production-based components include the block and cylinder heads, direct-injection fuel system, valve train components, drive-by-wire throttle, alternator, sensors and fasteners. The engine even features a stock Honda oil filter.
The 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship has now completed its annual West Coast run, and resumes May 30 at the Raceway at Belle Isle in Detroit, MI.
Ozz Negri (#60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier-Honda): “It’s a good result; we got what we had to get. I got hit on a restart and bent the steering arm, so the car was not perfect. At the end of the day, it’s a podium, and we keep chipping away and one day we’re going to make [a victory] happen. The team did a brilliant job this weekend. We led all of the practice sessions and had the fastest race lap. It took awhile for me to pass Dane [Cameron] and Joao [Barbosa] – especially Dane, he was pretty aggressive. I knew I had a better car and I just picked my time to pass them. Unfortunately, I was further back, but it’s a good result. I’m very happy with the progress that we made and extremely proud of [co-driver] John’s [Pew] pace. We’re going to just keep working harder from here on out and make it happen.”