Grand AM »

Valiante joins Shank for `09.


Pushed out of the SunTrust Racing line-up by the arrival of Brian Frisselle, Michael Valiante has signed to partner John Pew at Michael Shank Racing in next season's Rolex Sports Car Series

The Canadian will co-drive the #6 entry alongside Grand-Am's newest race winner, and brings an impressive racing resume to the MSR operation, having won titles from the very start of his career. Valiante made his first Daytona Prototype start in 2005, and competed full-time in the Rolex series from 2006, getting his biggest break alongside Max Angelelli at SunTrust last season.

“As a driver, you want to be involved with a team that is willing to put in the effort that it takes to win, and that is definitely the case with Michael Shank Racing,” he said, “Their shop is incredible, and their on-track record speaks for itself.

"I've known Mike [Shank] since the Atlantic days, and I'm really excited about this opportunity. I'm looking forward to working with John and the Riley-Ford is a proven package. The team has shown for several years that it is a winning organisation, and I'm hoping to be a part of even more success for this team [next] season.”

Valiante joins MSR at the end of a break-out season for the team, which saw it take a record-setting pole for the Rolex 24 at Daytona and close out the year with two consecutive race wins. After a partial campaign in 2007, Pew also enjoyed an impressive '08 campaign as the #6 team finished the year ninth in the championship.

“We closed the year out on such a high with our victory at Miller, but now we are focused on 2009 and I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to work with Michael [Valiante] this year,” said Pew, who scored two podiums in his first full season of Rolex competition, “Getting back on the podium again is a high priority, starting with the Daytona 24 Hours in January.”

Valiante enjoyed mixed fortunes with the SunTrust team, always appearing to be a frontrunner with Angelelli, but suffering poor fortune until late in the year, eventually finishing eleventh in the individual standings. That fact wasn't lost on Shank, however, who relishes the chance to bring an old Atlantics adversary on board.

“We've known Michael for years and he brings a lot of speed, intelligence, and racecraft with him,” the team owner said, “We know he's going to be a great fit with this team. We've seen what he can do in the car, so we're really pleased to have him on our side and not have to race against him.”

Valiante will get his first chance to work with the MSR team at this month's November Test Days.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Max Angelelli / Jordan Taylor. GRAND-AM Championship Weekend Presented by BMW at Lime Rock Park. 2013 Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series
Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype (left) to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Alex Gurney and Jo Fogarty, drivers of the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP (right) finish in second place. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
John Edwards and Robin Liddell, drivers of the # 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R., race to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the Grand Touring (GT) class of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
John Edwards and Matt Bell, drivers of the # 9 Camaro GS.R, race to second place Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Rolex Series action [Pic credit: Grand-Am]
Alex Popow and Sebastian Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Ford Riley, celebrate in Victory Lane after wininng the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Alex Popow and Sebastien Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Soloson Ford Riley, celebrate after winning the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The winning #60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley car is brought into victory lane after a gruelling 50th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona. [Picture Credit: Daytona International Speedway]
Alex Gurney/Jon Fogarty - GAINSCO Bob Stallings Racing Riley-Pontiac   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Henri Richard/Rene Villeneuve - Polizei 144 TRG Porsche GT3   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Romain Dumas/Timo Bernhard - Verizon Wireless Team Penske Riley-Porsche   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas - TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Lexus   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas - TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Lexus   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Michael Valiante/Joh Pew - Michael Shank Racing Riley-Ford   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Oswaldo Negri/Mark Patterson - Michael Shank Racing Riley-Ford   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Ricardo Zonta/Nic Jonsson - Krohn Racing Lola-Ford   [pic credit: Grand-Am]

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.