Michael Shank Racing is having to conduct an engine change in its Ligier JS P2 Honda prior to Qualifying 2 and 3 tonight, after discovering a crack in the oil pan.
The team, which posted the fastest lap in the initial qualifying session among the Ligier entries and was fifth in the LMP2 class, is working through replacing the Honda powerplant with a new unit ahead of Thursday evening’s two practice qualifying sessions.
The issue was discovered as the team worked through its preparation process on Thursday morning. Michael Shank Racing anticipates a five minute in-race stop-and-hold penalty for the motor change, which will have to be served before the 12-hour mark of the race.
“This is a really tough deal for my guys, they’ve been busting their butts for just about a month and this is a big project to add to our pre-race prep,” said team owner Mike Shank. “But we’re fortunate to have discovered this today and not any closer to the race. We’ve got great support from Honda and HPD, and I am so proud of my guys for how they’ve just put their heads down to get this done. We’ll fight through this and the penalty and just stay focused on finishing this race.”
Qualifying 2 starts later tonight at 19:00 local time in France.