Coming to Road Atlanta with clear, but not insurmountable leads in the IMSA Weather TechSportsCar Prototype and Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup championships, Action Express drivers Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr are faced with what could be conflicting priorities. Do they do everything in their power to win Petit Le Mans or do they focus on securing the championships?
When in doubt, they say, think “big picture.”
“Ultimately, as a racer you want to win every race,” said Curran (pictured at right, above, with Nasr). “Ideally we’ll win the race and in the process, clinch the Prototype and Patron titles. But the championships have to be the priority. We want to win the race if we can, but we don’t want to take any unnecessary risks. We have to think big picture. We don’t want to risk the championships to win the race.”
With a four-point lead over CORE autosport in the IMSA Prototype championship, Curran and Nasr, together with third driver Gabby Chaves, can clinch the title for Action Express with a second-place finish even if their rivals win the race. With Patron Cup points awarded at the four-, eight- and 10-hour marks of the race, the realm of arithmetic possibilities are more convoluted than in the overall prototype competition. Essentially, however, Curran and Nassr can secure the endurance crown by running in the top three at those key points in the race.
“Having the points lead is an advantage, but it would help if the gap was bigger,” says Nasr. “We just have to perform our best, and we have total confidence in our car, the team, the package and the driver line-up. If we have a shot to win the race, we’ll take it, but if not, then we have to do what it necessary to finish second or third.
“I think the last two hours will be crucial,” he continues. It gets crazy here at night, but the important thing is to get there (to the final two hours). That means the team has to make smart calls and, as drivers, we have to drive smart, make clear passes in traffic and make sure we are in position to achieve the maximum result at the finish.”