INDIANAPOLIS — In a news-making week for Andretti Autosport, the championship Verizon IndyCar Series team announced Wednesday a partnership with long-time sports car team owner Michael Shank for rookie Jack Harvey’s Indianapolis 500 entry.
Michael Shank Racing will team with Andretti Autosport to campaign the No. 50 Michael Shank Racing with Andretti Autosport Honda/Dallara for Harvey during the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 on May.
The news came just hours after the announcement of an Andretti partnership with McLaren to bring two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso to IMS for this year’s 500.
An Indianapolis 500 ownership collaboration marks the newest chapter for Shank, who competed as a driver in the open wheel ranks and made one IndyCar start in 1997 before moving to focus on team ownership.
That focus saw his Ohio-based team flourish in endurance sports car racing, having won the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona as well as leading the race in the team’s first-ever Le Mans 24 Hour start in 2016.
The Michael Shank Racing partnership with Andretti Autosport reflects the culmination of a lifetime of effort, as the team becomes one of the few organizations to contest the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Le Mans 24 Hour and the Indianapolis 500.
“It has been nearly 25 years since my wife Marybeth and I started this race team, so to have this opportunity finally come together — it is huge for us,” said Shank, who oversees the Acura NSX GT3 program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. “We have been working to find a way to race in the Indianapolis 500 for years, and I’m grateful that our relationships have developed to put us in this position.”
“Ever since we joined the Honda family, we’ve been able to continue to grow as a team and this is a great example of that. We are very excited to be working with the defending champions, and Jack (Harvey) is a very promising talent … so we are thrilled to have this opportunity.”
Harvey has two Indy Lights victories to his credit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, scoring victories in both the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Freedom 100 on his way to a runner-up finish in the 2015 Indy Lights championship. He previously won the British F3 championship in 2013.
“As everyone has read, the Month of May is going to be big for us. We’re really excited to be partnering with not only McLaren and Honda for Fernando Alonso, but also with Michael Shank Racing in a joint entry on the No. 50 for Jack Harvey,” said Michael Andretti. “Michael [Shank] and the partnership with his organization was instrumental in allowing us to run six cars in the 101st Indy 500. The six drivers and engineering teams will work closely together as we look to defend our win from 2016.”
In addition to Harvey and Alonso, Andretti Autosport will prepare Indy entries for Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi and Takuma Sato.
CREDIT: Andretti Autosport