Ambrose’s Daytona 24 Hour team cops big penalties
Marcos Ambrose’s third place finish at Rolex 24 At Daytona will stand despite the team he drove for, Michael Shank Racing, not appealing points and financial penalties on the No. 60 Ford-Riley.
Following a post-race inspection of the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley, GRAND-AM determined that the team was in violation of Section 4-1.1 (“GRAND-AM will specify components and performance levels in the Specific Car Regulations that must be adhered to”) of the GRAND-AM Rule Book, the team was notified on Thursday that it would be penalised the driver, team, and manufacturer points earned from the result.
The team was hit with the following penalties:
• The team, Michael Shank Racing, will forfeit third-place prize money of US$35,000 and has been penalised with the loss of 30 team championship points
• Drivers Ozz Negri, John Pew, Justin Wilson, Marcos Ambrose and AJ Allmendinger have each been penalised 30 driver championship points
• Ford has been penalised 30 manufacturer championship points
• The team has been penalised one point in the North American Endurance Championship standings
The team has been fined US$15,000, payable to Camp Boggy Creek, the official charity of GRAND-AM.
Despite all the penalties handed down, the official results will remain unchanged.
The infraction was based on how the motor was set up for the testing process. The team has decided not to appeal the decision and will focus on the upcoming event at the Circuit of the Americas 1-2 March.
“As much as we are frustrated with the penalty, we believe that pursuing an appeal would not change the outcome, and that we should just move forward from here,” said team owner Mike Shank.
“Fighting this will only take time and resources away from improving this process in the future.”
GRAND-AM has participation from engine suppliers Ford, Chevrolet and BMW (Daytona 24 Hour winner) in the Daytona Prototype category. It continually makes adjustments to each of them in the pursuit of competitive parity. Shank has called on this becoming more open and clear in the future.
“I want to be able to show up at Daytona International Speedway each spring and be able to run flat out from practice to the race without fearing that we will get engine penalties,” said Shank.
“Winning the Rolex 24 should come down to the engineering, driving talent, and strategy–not who can win the race on the dyno in Concord (NASCAR’S R&D facility). Obviously this entire process has been very frustrating, but just like we did in the 24, we will have to put it behind us, embrace all of our partners, and get to work on clawing our points back starting at COTA.”
In terms of penalties on the drivers, it only really affects Ozz Negri who is confirmed for all events with the team this season.