The defending Rolex 24-winning Mustang Sampling Cadillac team learned Thursday that driver Mike Conway had encountered travel problems getting to the U.S. from England and will not be able to compete in this weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“We just got off the phone with Mike, he has been delayed and is still in England,” said Action Express Racing team manager Gary Nelson. “We are very disappointed that we won’t be able to have Mike in our car for the race. With the delay, it became obvious that he would not be able to make the trip to Daytona in time for the final practice session.”
With Conway unable to compete, the team has opted to retain its 2018-winning three-driver line-up of Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Filipe Albuquerque for the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi.
“We all decided that it might be best for the No. 5 car to race the Rolex with Christian, Joao and Filipe,” Nelson said. “We will continue to work with Mike in other events in the 2019 Michelin Endurance Championship.”
Conway was one of several drivers to encounter visa problems en route to Daytona. BMW Team RLL’s Tom Blomqvist was also forced to withdraw for that reason, and was replaced in the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE by Augusto Farfus. Wayne Taylor Racing’s Kamui Kobayshi also lost a day getting to Florida, but managed to get to the track in time for practice.
“The process to get a visa is so long,” said Kobayashi, who joins Fernando Alonso, Renger van der Zande and Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. “We started to work two months ago, and we got it on Tuesday. I had to change (my flight) because I had a missed date with the application. That’s why we went to the embassy — they told me I had the wrong date. Then I had to go again.”