Michael Shank Racing 2016 Driver Lineup Adds Olivier Pla
Michael Shank Racing 2016 driver lineup announced via team website. Adding equal parts speed and experience to an already stout driver line up, Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian announced that Olivier Pla will join the team for the four-round North American Endurance Cup as part of its 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship campaign.
The talented French racing driver comes to the team with extensive experience in P2 machinery – particularly with the Honda-powered Ligier platform that Michael Shank Racing utilizes. Pla will join Rolex 24 At Daytona champions John Pew, Ozz Negri and AJ Allmendinger in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway.
Pla will also team with Pew and Negri in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sahlen’s 6 Hours of the Glen, and Petit Le Mans.
“I’m very happy to join Michael Shank Racing and to share the car with John (Pew), Ozz (Negri) and AJ (Allmendinger),” said Pla. “It’s a very strong line up and I know this car very well. I’ve had a lot of time in the Ligier and know how capable this car is. I spent a little bit of time getting to know the guys at the test in Daytona last month and I think we can expect a strong result. Everybody at Michael Shank Racing has been very welcoming. I’m eager to get going and see what we can do.”
The 2016 running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marks Pla’s third attempt in the endurance classic, building on his extensive range of endurance experience in FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), ELMS, and IMSA competition.
His 2014 WEC campaign aboard the Ligier saw him claim victories for Oak Racing in the 6 Hours of Silverstone, the 6 Hours of Spa, the 6 Hours of Fuji and the 6 Hours of Shanghai. He also stood on the podium with a result of third in the 6 Hours of COTA and 6 Hours of Bahrain.
Pla contested the 2014 (sixth) and 2015 (engine) editions of the Rolex 24 as well as made eight starts in the world renowned 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“Olivier Pla is absolutely in my opinion one of the top two or three guys in the world in a P2 car and specifically in this car,” said team owner Mike Shank. “We’re really excited to have him. He fit directly into the seat when we seat-fitted him at the November test. We are really eager to get him in the car at the Roar and see where he stacks up – but we know where he’s going to stack up! We think our driver line up is one of the best we’ve ever had and we can’t wait. It’s just a matter of us not making any mistakes on the car side or the team side so we’re continuing to focus on that. We’ve been home at the shop since the November test preparing the car the best we can and we’ll come out strong at Daytona.”
Pla will take his first laps in the No. 60 Ligier powered by Honda at the annual ‘Roar Before the 24’ three-day test at Daytona International Speedway on January 8-10.
The 54th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona gets underway on January 30, 2016.
Source: Michael Shank Racing