TUSCC: Action Express continuing with Corvette DP program

TUSCC: Action Express continuing with Corvette DP program


TUSCC: Action Express continuing with Corvette DP program


Action Express plans to stay in the Corvette DP family next year, says team boss Gary Nelson (with driver Joao Barbosa, LEFT. LAT photo)

Just as many of his fellow team principals have done over the last few days, Action Express Racing boss Gary Nelson has been buried in IMSA’s draft prototype regulations for the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

Nelson, who also oversees Coyote ” the Daytona Prototype manufacturer whose chassis are used by AXR and Spirit of Daytona Racing ” has digested what IMSA has distributed and expects to see his chassis and team succeed with whatever is finalized in the revised DP rule book.

?I look after both the Action Express team and Coyote, so I’ve worn both hats looking at next year,? Nelson told RACER. ?We got the proposed specifications from Grand-Am last Friday, and we took them just as that: proposed. We believe they’re waiting for our feedback on them on what’s feasible and been meeting for the past two days on our approach.

?I’m confident the Corvette DP will be the car to have when we get to Daytona. We were very excited when we got the Corvette body, just finished the second year with it, and have used all our knowledge with it and will continue to evolve what we have. I think that’s the best approach. Our strategy is to take what we’ve learned with the Corvette, and like building blocks, keep building upon it with our race team.?

Just as Daytona Prototypes will undergo significant changes for 2014, some of the entrants in the DP category will also enter the new season with major revisions to deal with. For some of the teams with close ties to the series and its founding family, seeking independent funding could pose a bigger challenge than any of the technical updates that will be required.

AXR ran a two-car program in 2013, with the wickedly fast Joao Barbosa and Brian Frisselle joined by series regulars Christian Fittipaldi and Brian’s brother Burt. Despite the late-season emergence of Total as the sponsor for the Frisselle entry, it’s possible a single full-time car and a second entry for the North American Endurance Championship rounds could emerge with the newfound sponsorship needs in mind.

For now, and while the commercial side of AXR is being sorted for next season, Nelson is confident the proposed mechanical and aerodynamic changes to the DP platform will allow his Corvette-bodied Coyotes to be competitive when the series gets under way at the 24 Hours of Daytona.

?I believe we will be right there; the only real indicator that you can take for the future, without owning a crystal ball, is to look at the speeds of the P2 cars and the DeltaWing at the same types of tracks where the DPs competed,? Nelson explained. ?We don’t have Daytona, but we have Lime Rock, Laguna Seca, Road Atlanta, Road America, Sonoma, and such to compare the cars and we were able to come up with a number in the six percent range on the need for DPs to go faster per lap.

?I think most of the industry looked at things differently in figuring out how much speed was needed to bring the P2s and DPs together, but we looked at it in percentages, because six percent on the stopwatch at Lime Rock is nothing like six percent at Road America. When I put those figures together, that was where we started to work from for balancing the cars. Of course, as racers, we want everyone to run one pace and for us to run one percent faster??

Nelson is also hopeful to add another Coyote DP to the grid, provided they find a buyer.

?From a Coyote standpoint, we’ve won five races over the last two seasons and we won two races in a row during the summer, and that got our phone ringing pretty steady,? Nelson added. ?We have one new chassis we’ve built that’s ready for next year and hope somebody take this car ” chassis No. 7 ” to Daytona as a brand-new car.?

MX-5 Cup | Watkins Glen – Round 8