While the calendar might show there are still some 44 days until the green flag flies for the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona, and a further two months until the start of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season, it is already 2012 for team owner Mike Shank. His team, which confirmed plans this week for a full-season Rolex Sports Car Series campaign with John Pew and Ozz Negri, also has committed to launching an IndyCar effort in 2012 in partnership with NASCAR racer AJ Allmendinger and Columbus, Ohio, businessman Brian Bailey, and will manage the program in parallel with his Grand-Am effort. Both sides of the effort are set to see significant benchmarks this week as the team receives its two new cars at its 20,000sq.ft. shop just outside of Columbus.
While picking up its Dallara DW12 IndyCar today in Indianapolis, Shank's group also has been selected to be the first team to take delivery of the first third-generation Daytona Prototype from Riley Technologies. The team will pick the car up in Mooresville, N.C., and immediately head to Daytona next Monday. After that, the Riley DP3 will undergo testing at the Windshear wind tunnel facilities in Charlotte, N.C., under the auspices of Grand-Am, ahead of the official "Roar Before the 24" tests at Daytona on Jan. 6-8.
“It has been really very busy, but I wouldn't trade this for anything,” said Shank. “This is a really exciting time. Delivering a strong on-track product in two different series is a big undertaking, but we've long planned for this and right now we are just executing on those plans. What we do right now will pay dividends with performance this summer and we know what we need to have in place to be effective and smart with the available resources.
"There is a lot going on on every front with getting the new cars, working on the commercial side of the IndyCar program, developing the second entry for the 24, and also a lot of things going on in the background. My guys are very excited about getting their hands on these new cars and getting to know them and I'm really looking forward to seeing them both on track. Christmas comes early this year!”