Ford WEC GTE driver Olivier Pla gets Michael Shank Racing IMSA deal

Olivier Pla will contest the four long-distance rounds of the IMSA SportsCar Championship with Michael Shank Racing in addition to his World Endurance Championship campaign with Ford

Ford WEC GTE driver Olivier Pla gets Michael Shank Racing IMSA deal

Pla will drive Shank's Ligier-Honda JSP2 at the Daytona 24 Hours, the Sebring 12 Hours, the Watkins Glen 6 Hours and the 10-hour Petit Le Mans enduro at Road Atlanta, the four rounds that make up the North American Endurance Cup component of the IMSA series.

The 34-year-old, who has joined Ford Chip Ganassi Racing for its WEC GTE Pro assault after a year with Nissan's abortive LMP1 programme, will share the car with team regulars Oswaldo Negri Jr and John Pew.

They will be joined at the opening round of the IMSA series at Daytona on January 30/31 by Shank regular AJ Allmendinger.

The deal marks a return to the Ligier fold for Pla, who led development of the JSP2 coupe through the first half of 2014 and raced the car for the works OAK team in both the WEC and IMSA's Tudor United SportsCar Championship that season.

Team boss Mike Shank said: "Olivier is absolutely in my opinion one of the top two or three guys in the world in a P2 car - we're really excited to have him."

Pla added: "I've spent a lot of time in the Ligier and know how capable the car is.

"I'm eager to get going and to see what we can do."

Pla, who will drive the Shank car for the first time in the three-day official Daytona test that starts on Friday, has previously raced in the US 24-hour race on two occasions, finishing eighth in an OAK-run Morgan in 2014 and 10th last year in a Krohn Racing Ligier.

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