Valiante, Goossens Join Lineup for MSR No. 60 Ford/Riley

COLUMBUS, Ohio -The No. 60 Crown Royal Extra Rare Ford/Riley will be well-stocked with speed, experience, and international flair once again for the 49th Rolex 24 At Daytona. Michael Shank Racing announced the addition of Belgian Marc Goossens and Canadian Michael Valiante to the driving roster for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 29-30.

Goossens and Valiante will team with full-season pilots John Pew and Ozz Negri as Michael Shank Racing targets a momentum-building season opener at the World Center of Racing.

Valiante, who had Pew as his co-driver during a full season campaign with Michael Shank Racing in 2009, arrives at the effort with two years of experience with the team already under his belts as he looks to make his seventh career start in the Rolex 24.

“Every time you get to race for Michael Shank Racing, you know you are going to have a good car underneath you with a great crew backing it up” Valiante said. “I think having Marc as part of this effort is going to make us that much stronger. There are so many variables in a race like this, but to know that you are part of a line up like this gives you a lot of confidence for the race.”

Goossens has proven to be a race-winning driver in Daytona Prototype competition, but is still chasing his first Rolex 24 podium to add to his career accomplishments. His relationship with Negri goes back several years to when the two were teammates in Europe’s cut throat British F3 in 1992.
“Michael and I have tried to put together a deal a few times in the past, and I’m very glad we could work it all out for the Rolex 24,” Goossens said. “With a line up as we have, I think we can be serious contenders. What is most important, none of us are too busy with our egos but are all team players.”
The No. 60 entry scored a run to second place in 2006 with Negri as one of the drivers, and team owner Shank suspects that this could be the best chance to date for the team to match or beat that result.

“You look at the guys we have in this car, and it’s hard not to feel confident about the chance we have to be very competitive,” said team owner Mike Shank. “Michael and Ozz have been bouncing ideas off each other for the last two seasons, so they know how to work well together and John has enough experience in this race to play a very important role. Marc (Goossens) is one of those guys that we’ve had our eye on for a long time so it’s great that it worked out to have him on board. He’s very very fast, but he also knows how to bring the car home and that is so crucial for an effort like this.”

The effort will kick off with the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test at Daytona International Speedway on January 7-9.

Source http://www.grand-am.com

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