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Funds share-out sees MSR team at risk

The IZOD IndyCar Series has announced how additional funding for team will be divided up in 201, with Michael Shank Racing set to lose out.
The IZOD IndyCar Series has announced how it will be sharing out the proceeds from the championship's commercial income in 2012, including TV rights and sanctioning fees.

The money will go to teams registered to run a full 2012 season, with the top 18 cars based on the 2011 points standings set to receive an estimated $1.2m each in subsidies from the Leaders Circle program.

Sebastien Bourdais (who has moved to Dragon Racing for 2012) and Ed Carpenter (now with Ed Carpenter Racing) were also selected to receive funds based on those teams' strong presentations to series officials, while the remaining pot - almost $2.5m - will be shared out to the rest of the cars based on their finishing positions during the forthcoming season.

Among those set to lose out on guaranteed funding are Katherine Legge (Dragon), Alex Tagliani (Bryan Herta Autosport), Charlie Kimball (Ganassi), Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan) and Josef Newgarden (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing.)

The decision to share out the funds in this way has raised concerns over the viability of Michael Shank Racing's bid to launch an IndyCar program in 2012, and team owner Michael Shank has admitted that he is facing "definite challenges" if he's to be able to launch MSR Indy in 2012.

Shank had expected to be included in the Leaders Circle program in order to get a large portion of the necessary funds to enter the 2012 IndyCar season, but the announcement this week leaves his team with a major gap in its finances.

"We're still fighting and scrapping,” Shank told reporters when asked whether he was looking likely to make the grid at St Petersburg next month. “I'm not about to give up yet."

It's estimated that an IndyCar team needs a budget of around $6m to field a car for a full season. Shank is in discussions with driver Paul Tracy, who it is thought can bring almost $2m with him in sponsor backing in exchange for a race seat. The team will also have its own budget of around the same amount, but losing out on the $1.2m Leaders Circle program will leave Shank a long way short of sufficient funds for a full-season campaign.

Shank is also seemingly having problems securing an engine deal for his fledgling team. Despite claiming to have secured a Lotus deal when the formation of MSR Indy was announced in Las Vegas last October, it seems as though negotiations have since fallen through.

Lotus has never publicly confirmed or even hinted at a likely engine deal with the team. Meanwhile Honda and Chevrolet are thought to be at or near their capacity for supplying teams for the upcoming season and are unwilling to take on any more team commitments, which would leave Shank without anyone to supply his team with an engine in 2012.

With only six weeks to go until the start of the 2012 season, and with major question marks hanging over the money, driver and engine aspects of MSR Indy, time is fast running out for Shank and his would-be IndyCar team.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Paul Tracy, driving for Dragon Racing in 2011 in the IZOD IndyCar Series [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
Former racing driver, now the newest IndyCar team owner Michael Shank announces his team`s 2012 entry with Lotus power at Las Vegas Motor Speedway ahead of the 2011 season finale. [Picture credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media]
Ryan Hunter-Reay waits on pitlane prior to practice at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson and Charlie Kimball go side-by-side for the start of the Pocono INDYCAR 500 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay with an early pit stop during the Pocono INDYCAR 500 (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson exits Turn 2 during practice for the Pocono INDYCAR 500 at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson waits on pit lane prior to qualifications for the Pocono INDYCAR 500 (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates second place (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves on pit road (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves leads Ryan Briscoe (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves on pit lane prior to qualifications for the Pocono INDYCAR 500 at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves heads down the Long Pond Straightaway during practice for the Pocono INDYCAR 500 at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 6, 2014 during the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag as he races to victory Sunday, July 6, 2014 during the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 6, 2014 during the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 6, 2014 during the Pocono IndyCar 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Race winner Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates with Helio Castroneves and Carlos Munoz on the podium after the Pocono IndyCar 500. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya crosses the finish line to win at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)

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T - Unregistered

February 12, 2012 4:55 PM

The lack of an engine deal is the biggest threat to MSR, though Lotus have hinted that if HMV dont run a second car then MSR will get the remaining engine allocation. Seems crazy that there are so many teams without engines (Sarah Fisher/Carpenter/Conquest/MSR) but then who saw so many teams wanting entry in 2012 ? 6 weeks to sort it all out - you would think with his links that Honda would supply an engine to a Paul Tracy/MSR team



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