The Daytona Prototype class grows as Michael Shank Racing and BTE Sport add cars to the lineup for Circuit of The Americas on March 2.
A pair of Daytona Prototype teams whose Rolex 24 At Daytona results didn't quite meet expectations look for better performances next week when the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series journeys to Austin, Texas for its inaugural race at the Circuit of The Americas.
Michael Shank Racing, whose No. 6 Ford/Riley finished 41st at Daytona, this week set the car's driver lineup for the remainder of the 2013 season. Colombian Gustavo Yacaman and Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia, part of a four-driver tandem at Daytona, will share the No. 6 beginning with the Austin event.
For Shank, it's confirmation of a two-car team for 2013 – a concept he prefers.
"We've been working for a long time to be back to a two-car effort and while there were a lot of good options for us, the biggest thing was to know that we'd be coming to each race with the opportunity to be successful," said Shank, who also fields the No. 60 Ford/Riley shared by 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona winners John Pew and Ozz Negri. "I really believe that with these two drivers we've got the tools we need to be competitive and, hopefully this will be a strong platform for us to build on and prepare for 2014 and beyond."
BTE Sport, meanwhile, heads to the Lone Star State with the stated goal of becoming a top-tier performer in DP after winning three consecutive Ferrari Challenge championships and competing in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Formed by John Shapiro, Anthony Massari and Emmanuel Anassis, the team finished 47th in its DP debut.
Massari and Anassis are slated to drive the BTE Sport's No. 27 Ford/Riley.
Yacaman, 22, took third in the 2012 Indy Lights championship with victories at Detroit and Toronto. Pizzonia raced his way up the European open-wheel ladder to compete in Formula 1 with Williams Grand Prix Engineering and Jaguar F1. More recently, he's been a regular in the Brazilian Stock Car Championship.
"I know how good this team is and the racing with these Daytona Prototypes is very competitive and very close so it is something that all the drivers really enjoy," said Yacaman.
Pizzonia echoed his teammate's comments. "I am looking forward to racing with Gustavo and quickly learning all the tracks and getting used to racing in America," he said.
Massari said Shapiro and crew have made significant changes since last month's Daytona race.
"We have made huge improvements to the car," he said. "Our team has had more time to work together and I know we will have a better showing."
Anassis made history last fall when he won Circuit of The America's Ferrari Challenge race held in conjunction with the Formula 1 weekend.
"I've had the most enviable position of being the first driver to ever win at Circuit of The Americas, truly the highlight of my racing career," he said. "This is a world-class track that challenges the team, the drivers and the cars in a way that very few other tracks can."