Ambrose’s squad fastest at Daytona-24 practice

The Michael Shank Racing Riley fastest at 'The Roar Before the 24'

The Michael Shank Racing Riley fastest at ‘The Roar Before the 24’

Defending Rolex 24 At Daytona champions, Michael Shank Racing, has set the pace during the official pre-event testing ‘The Roar Before the 24’.

Australia’s Marcos Ambrose has joined the squad for the test days as lead drive Ozz Negri continues to recover from injuries sustained in an off-season accident. Ambrose has not been named in the four driver squad of AJ Allmendinger, Justin Wilson, John Pew and Negri; although he is the first-choice substitute should Negri fail to recover full fitness for the event which ironically will be run on Australia Day.

Allmendinger, who anchored the team to victory in the 50th Anniversary running of the event last year, posted the quickest time of the session with a lap of 1:42.296-seconds in the No. 60 Ford-Riley.

“Overall the car is really good,” said Allmendinger.

“What Ozz and John did here at the test, we got a really good package. What I like the most is that I can get in the car right away and go fire off the laps. I don’t have to keep working hard to just put in one lap. The car is pretty consistent. I think we still need to fine tune it a little bit overall but I’m pleased with it.

A bearded Ambrose in the driver's seat of the Daytona prototype

A bearded Ambrose in the driver’s seat of the Daytona prototype

“The car has great speed – both cars have great speed. We don’t know exactly how fast everybody else is but overall I feel pretty good about it. This track is notorious for changing a lot so I think that’s it more than anything, just trying to keep up with the track. The car is fast. I’m enjoying it.”

Ambrose has enjoyed his time with the team and the chance to lap the combined speedway and roadcourse layout in a Daytona prototype sportscar.

“It’s my first time back in a Daytona Prototype car and first time here at Daytona since 2005 so it’s a lot of fun,” said Ambrose.

“The team is just a great team and we have a great atmosphere. The car is really good. We’re all very similar in our styles and speed. It’s just going to be a whole lot of fun.

“If you’re going to come and try to do this race, if you can run with the team that won last year’s race then you’ve done pretty well so I’m excited about that.

“Ozz (Negri) has been great. I didn’t know him from a bar of soap when I got here and he’s been really open and helpful. This team means a lot to him whether he’s behind the wheel or he’s watching from the sidelines.”

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