Mark Wilkins will be looking for his 3rd Sebring 12 Hour win at the wheel of the #93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX.
By: Michael Shank Racing
March 15 2017
RACE: 65th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by “Fresh from Florida”
No. 86 Acura NSX GT3: Ozz Negri, Jeff Segal, Tom Dyer
No. 93 Acura NSX GT3: Andy Lally, Katherine Legge, Mark Wilkins
A LOOK BACK AT SEBRING HISTORY: 2017 marks Michael Shank Racing’s fourth start in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Having fielded a Prototype in the previous three races, the team earned a best finish of seventh. Olivier Pla scored the pole for the team in the 2016 event.
SEBRING DRIVER HIGHLIGHTS:
Lally won the 2014 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring driving a Porsche. He has stood on the podium at Sebring four times (2008 – 2nd, 2009 – 3rd, 2014 – 1st, 2016 – 3rd).
Segal won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring last year (2016) in the GTD class driving a Ferrari 458 GT3 for Scuderia Corsa.
Wilkins is a two-time winner of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in the PC class driving for Level 5 Motorsports and CORE Autosport, respectively.
This year’s event marks the first appearance for Tom Dyer in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
THREE PREVIOUS SEBRING WINNERS: Of the six driver line-up for Michael Shank Racing, three of them are Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring winners. Andy Lally (2014 - GTD), Jeff Segal (2016 - GTD) and Mark Wilkins (2010 & 2016 – PC) have all claimed victory in the historic event.
TPNAEC LEADERS: The Michael Shank Racing No. 86 entry of Ozz Negri, Jeff Segal and Tom Dyer enter the Sebring round as the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup (TPNAEC) championship leaders in the GTD category. The TPNAEC is a championship within a championship with rounds held at each of the four endurance events on the IMSA calendar (Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, and Petit Le Mans). Points are distributed based on track position during designated segments of each race. For the Rolex 24 At Daytona, points were allocated at the six, 12-hour, 18-hour and 24-hour marks. Michael Shank Racing’s consistently strong performance through the 24-hour race saw the team emerge from the opening round of the championship with a victory in its first GTD class start.
ROLEX REWIND: Michael Shank Racing delivered an impressive performance in the Rolex 24 At Daytona as the team debuted its brand new Acura NSX GT3 machines at Daytona International Speedway. Both team cars led laps in a race that saw long periods of rain and cold temperatures which made track conditions challenging throughout much of the 24-hour endurance classic.
The No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 of Jeff Segal, Ozz Negri, Tom Dyer, and Ryan Hunter-Reay took a fifth place finish after 634 laps of racing in the car’s debut. The No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 driven by Andy Lally, Katherine Legge, Mark Wilkins, and Graham Rahal looked poised for a podium finish in the final stages of the 24-hour race, only to suffer a mechanical setback in the final 20 minutes that kept the car from taking the checkered flag.
The two cars led a combined 171 laps at Daytona (No. 86 – 97 laps, No. 93 – 74 laps)
NEGRI COMPETES FOR CAMP BOGGY CREEK: Negri completed the Las Olas Triathlon in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Sunday, March 12 with a time of 2:21.34. Using the triathlon as a way to raise money for Camp Boggy Creek, a proud charity of IMSA, Negri pushed hard through the Olympic distance event that consisted of a .93-mile swim, 25-mile bike ride, and a 6.2-mile run for a total distance of 32.13 miles – that’s almost nine laps around the Sebring International Raceway circuit! Negri appreciates all of the support from fans and friends around the globe who contributed to the effort which raised $7,695 for the Florida camp that serves children with serious illnesses. The amount of money raised will send three children to camp. For more information: www.campboggycreek.org
NEW FOR 2017: In addition to the brand new cars and drivers in the Michael Shank Racing stable, the team has also added seven additional team members for the two car-effort. New for 2017 is Michael Shank Racing General Manager Tim Keene, who spent time in a management role at DeltaWing Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing.
MICHAEL SHANK RACING MERCHANDISE: Reacting to robust fan demand and reflecting the new on-track program, Michael Shank Racing has partnered with Styled Aesthetic, a full service apparel and graphic design company, to produce a variety of new items. A range of t-shirts, fleece tops, and hats with various designs will be available with shirts sizes including Men S-3XL, Women XS-2XL, and Kid 2T-Youth L. Merchandise can be purchased at Sebring in the vendor area located pit lane.
HART RACING SUPPORTING ACURA EFFORT: HART Racing (Honda of America Racing Team), a longtime competitor in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series with the Honda Civic, is taking the 2017 season to learn more about the Acura NSX GT3 by working with Michael Shank Racing. Each of HART Racing’s team members are full-time employees of Honda R&D in Raymond, Ohio and Honda of America Manufacturing in Marysville, Ohio and each has worked on the development of the production NSX. The Honda-based HART Racing team, a program that operates with a dedicated group of volunteers, is located just on the other side of Columbus, Ohio from Michael Shank Racing. As HART works to develop plans to race with the Acura NSX GT3 in the future, the team will step away from competition in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge to take on this new and important role.
Why 86 and 93? The number 86 represents Acura’s birth in 1986, while the number 93 represents the year HPD was founded in 1993.
ACURA NSX GT3 SPECS:
Chassis - Production multi-material, aluminum-intensive space frame, manufactured at the Performance Manufacturing Center in Ohio, alongside production Acura NSX vehicles
Safety equipment - Steel roll cage, carbon fiber driver’s seat shell, six-point safety harness, fresh air intake system, on-board fire suppression system
Engine - Acura 3.5-liter, 75-degree, twin-turbocharged DOHC V-6, using the same design specifications as the production NSX, including the cylinder block, heads, valve train, crankshaft, pistons and dry-sump lubrication system
Transmission - Six-speed sequential, paddle-operated, rear-wheel drive
Saturday, March 18
10:30am – 11:00pm FOX Sports Go app
2:00pm – 11:00pm FS1
Ozz Negri, No. 86 Acura NSX GT3: “Michael Shank Racing has been working flat-out, we’ve been making progress in all areas and this will be a tougher race than Daytona. This track really puts the drivers and cars to the test. We accomplished quite a bit at the test (last month). We are going to keep working hard with what we have. It will be another very hard-fought race from our side. Traffic is going to be even tougher at Sebring because when you’re being passed, you’re hoping the person passing you doesn’t make a mistake and take you out. There is a lot less straightaway space here at Sebring, so it’s not as easy for the faster cars to go by.”
Jeff Segal, No. 86 Acura NSX GT3: “Daytona went really well for us but it’s important not to forget that everything is still very new and we still have a lot to learn. It’s good to have a race under our belt with some good points, but Sebring is a totally different race track so it’s back into the classroom for us. The Sebring test went well and gave us a chance to work on the cars even more. We’re always building on what we’ve learned at the previous tests and races. We’re making good progress so I think it’ll be another tricky race but it’s all a part of the learning curve with this new car.”
Tom Dyer, No. 86 Acura NSX GT3: “I’m looking forward to another historic endurance event. It’s great to be able to take part in it. It’s going to be a much crazier event than Daytona, it’s much busier with tighter confines. It’s going to be interesting dealing with cars coming up on you while trying to manage your own situation – there is a lot less room for error. You’re really going to have good awareness at Sebring, even more so than at Daytona. We’re just continuing to work on everything and see if we can equal what we did at Daytona – we were quite pleased with that result – but of course we always want more so we’re continuing to work at it.”
Andy Lally, No. 93 Acura NSX GT3: “Coming off such a strong Daytona event for us and heading into Sebring gives us some positive momentum but we have to keep in mind that this is a completely different animal that takes different types of set up and is going to like a different racecar. On top of that, we’re still in the development phase of this car and Sebring is going to be the toughest track to gather all of that information and come up with the proper compromise to be good everywhere. If anybody is up for it, it’s Michael Shank Racing. This Acura NSX is awesome and we’re looking forward to seeing what we can do in the 12 Hour.”
Katherine Legge, No. 93 Acura NSX GT3: “This race is going to be quite different from Daytona. The track surface is a lot bumpier and I think this is a real test of endurance on the equipment. I hope that we’ve proved what an awesome program this has been so far and how good and durable and reliable our cars can be. Hopefully we’ll get the finish that we didn’t get at Daytona. You always want more testing - every time you’re out there you’re learning something. We’ve done a lot of ABS work so hopefully that will help us not only in speed and driving but also in looking after the equipment.”
Mark Wilkins, No. 93 Acura NSX GT3: “Daytona was a really strong event for the debut of the Acura NSX GT3 and so our expectations are high - but Sebring is a pretty tough track. It’s one of my favorites but it works the equipment pretty hard. Through testing and development I think we’re in a good position to do well. I’m very happy with the progress we’ve made to date and really appreciate all the hard work that everyone has put into the program from the Michael Shank Racing guys and Acura – the effort has just been unbelievable. The race is another long one, and it’s tough one. You have to be eyes up – when you’re the slowest class, you have to be eyes up and make sure that you’re always paying attention. It adds another element for sure. It’s also dark here and you don’t get the luxury of having all the lights at Daytona where it’s sort of ‘semi-nighttime’. Here at Sebring you get those really dark conditions. It’s going to be a tough one – it always is at Sebring – this track rewards the people that are patient and the ones that make strong decisions.”
Canadians In BOLD