Meyer Shank Racing team co-owner Mike Shank revealed to reporters that the team were worried about the gearbox 200 laps into the race, with 17 hours still to go.
“I was so stressed. Our car had a gearbox problem all night. I mean, all night, and we could not fix it. We decided just to run it until it blew up. It didn’t blow up. We got super lucky,” said Shank.
When asked what ‘all night’ meant, the American clarified by saying, “200 laps.” The leading GTP cars crossed 200 laps just before the seventh hour, meaning the team managed the issue for 17 hours.
He added, “It was real serious. The guy that really monitors, that sits next to me, someone brought him a piece of racers tape that said 90°C on it, so we stopped — we just knew it was 90°C. If it goes, it goes.
“It just didn’t. We kept maintaining the gearbox and fluid levels and trying to fix it literally the whole race.”
The drivers said they didn’t really know there was an issue when driving, either. “I wasn’t [aware of the issue] until they mentioned about we’re losing time on the pits and we mentioned about there was something in the gearbox,” said Helio Castroneves. But I never asked because I didn’t want to know the answer and it put something in my head while I was driving. What they did was perfect. I never felt anything inside the car.
Like some other teams, Meyer Shank also had to continually replenish the engine oil in the car as well. Luckily this became routine for the team, though. “I noticed a lot of the manufacturers are doing that [changing the engine oil] now, where we draw it out. We essentially change the motor oil during the race,” said Shank.
He added: “That wasn’t that bad. We can deal with that all day. We have time to do that. I think that’s a preventative thing with the new fuel we have and the new motors that we have.