With the arrival of the sweltering summer months, the only thing ascending faster than the mercury is the intensity level for the 2015 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
With two cars in the midst of an incredibly tight championship fight, Action Express Racing utilized a lull in the Saturday competition schedule to announce their plans for the 2016 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season prior to the weekend’s running of the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at the famed Road America circuit in Wisconsin.
Among those taking part in the announcement were team principal Bob Johnson, team manager Gary Nelson and drivers João Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi, Eric Curran and Dane Cameron in the Road America Media Center. Also joining the team was Sonny Whelen of Whelen Engineering and Ken and Brenda Thompson of Mustang Sampling whose sponsorships of the Nos. 31 and 5 respectively will continue next season.
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Chevrolet Corvette DP fielded by Action Express will continue to be driven by Barbosa and Fittipaldi, while the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Corvette DP will again have Eric Curran and Dane Cameron behind the wheel.
“It’s exciting to announce that our two teams will continue to compete full-time in 2016 for the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship as well as the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup,” said Johnson. “We’ll be returning in January for the Roar Before the 24 with the Mustang Sampling Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype as well as the Whelen/Team Fox Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype.
“Additionally, we’ll have all four of our drivers back and that will only continue to add to the continuity which has developed in the engineering room throughout the 2015 season and we look for even greater things with João, Christian, Eric and Dane next season. But, we’ve still got four championships that we want to win in 2015 and this announcement will enable our team to focus on that goal 100 percent.”
Team manager Gary Nelson added that with the announcement, Action Express Racing would continue fielding Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototypes as they have since the Detroit-based manufacturer entered North American sports car racing’s premier division in 2012.
“With the announcement of a continued relationship with Chevrolet under the Corvette DP banner, we’ll have the peace of mind knowing our engines will continue to come from ECR engines with EMCO Gears transferring the power to the wheels and we’ll continue to have excellent engineering support from Pratt & Miller,” said Nelson.
“Over the past two years we’ve been able to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Twelve Hours of Sebring, Brickyard Grand Prix and of course our victory here at Road America last season which propelled us to the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.
“Through the support of all of our reliable supplier partners, we’ve been able to complete all 12,114 miles of the TUDOR SportsCar era with the Mustang Sampling Corvette DP so announcing a continuation of our supplier relationships for 2016 is a great feeling for our drivers, team members and sponsors.”
The two-car North Carolina based team recognized Bell Helmets, Mother’s California Gold Products, Penske Shocks, ZF, Mechanix Wear gloves, 1907water and Cliff Hangers Rock Climbing and Fitness Gym. Additionally the team recognized valued IMSA partners from Continental Tire, VP Racing Fuels, TUDOR Watches and Tequila Patrón.