Michael Shank Racing is progressing with its MSR Indy program, as the first Lotus team that was announced looks ahead to finalizing its staff and exploring its driver options.
A wide scope of potential team personnel have been in touch with Shank and partner Brian Bailey for the Lotus-powered team.
“The response has been pretty overwhelming,” Shank said. “We've had conversations with people at every level of the program, drivers to mechanics to folks on the commercial side of things. We know what we have already in house and what areas where we need to grow, so it is good to have some options to bring the right people in to this program.
“There are some segments of our team that we have not moved forward on. This is a one-car operation and everything is going to be focused on our driver and what they are looking for, so we've not yet locked in some positions on the engineering side of the program to keep ourselves flexible for what our driver is going to need.”
Shank said when the team was announced it would be looking for a veteran driver, and while Justin Wilson has driven for MSR before in Grand-Am, Wilson has many options available to him before making a decision.
The team spent two days testing its previous generation Daytona Prototype in Grand-Am last week with its usual drivers Oswaldo Negri Jr. and John Pew. The team will receive a new Riley body kit for the 2012 season to go with its Ford engines, which it will maintain.
Like all other IndyCar teams, Shank will receive its new Dallara DW12 chassis on Dec. 15. Both Shank and Bailey have made a visit to Dallara's new production facility outside Indianapolis.
“It was great to get in there and see the car in the flesh,” he said. “My guys have already been getting up to speed on the car as much as possible before we take delivery, working with Dallara to know the systems and procedures that this car will need to run well. Of course, there is going to be nothing better than having it in the shop and getting to work on it and everyone is counting down to that day.”