Nasr, Albuquerque join Action Express for 2018

Nasr, Albuquerque join Action Express for 2018

IMSA

Nasr, Albuquerque join Action Express for 2018

By

Some familiar names are returning to the Action Express Racing fold for 2018.

Former Formula 1 driver Felipe Nasr has been named to join 2016 IMSA Prototype champion Eric Curran in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R for the full 2018 campaign, taking the place of Dane Cameron, who is moving to Acura Team Penske. Former IndyCar and current World Endurance Championship driver Mike Conway will also return to the team for the Daytona, Sebring and Road Atlanta rounds of the Patron North American Endurance Championship.

As part of a bigger driver shuffle, Filipe Albuquerque will slot into the sister No. 5 full-time alongside Joao Barbosa, with Christian Fittipaldi moving to the endurance event lineup as he takes up what the teams says is “a new role with the team,” that of sporting director.

Fittipaldi’s new role will see him continue to contribute to in-weekend technical evaluations with long-time engineer Iain Watt. Fittipaldi has already begun his new role as a key figure as a representative of the team, working with sponsors and manufacturer partner Cadillac.

“As a team, the 2017 IMSA season has been a solid one, but we are all working hard to make 2018 an even better year,” Action Express Racing team manager Gary Nelson said. “We are happy to have Eric return in the Whelen Engineering Cadillac and to have Felipe come back to race with us for the full season. We have had the same driver line up for the Mustang Sampling Cadillac for the last two years, and that consistency will be an advantage. Christian, Filipe and Joao have all been racing with us but we are just changing the roles that each will have next year.”

The team has also added former former Chip Ganassi Racing team manager Tim Keene, who most recently helped Michael Shank Racing expand its dual IMSA-Indy 500 efforts by running the Acura NSXs while helping the team run rookie Jack Harvey at Indy.

“Audi pulling out, Porsche pulling out, it was a shock, but I like what is happening in America with DPi,” Albuquerque, who drove for the German marque in the WEC, told RACER in August. “It makes sense that it’s at the peak at the moment. What I want for my career is to be at that peak at Le Mans, or Daytona, or Sebring, and America is the hot spot now.”

Nasr made his Rolex 24 at Daytona debut with Michael Shank Racing in 2012 where he finished third, and returned in 2013 with AXR to take eighth in an entry with Fittipaldi. He attended the IndyCar race at Watkins Glen at Helio Castroneves’ invitation to come and meet with the various players who had openings for 2018. 

After signing with Sauber in 2015, he scored five finishes in the points in his rookie season, but his sophomore campaign saw the team plunge to the bottom of the field.

Marshall Pruett contributed to this report.

MX-5 Cup | Round 10 – Road America

More RACER