The No. 48 Cadillac DPi-V.R fielded by Action Express Racing at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in a one-off run with Hendrick Motorsports is likely to return.
After finishing second with Jimmie Johnson, Simon Pagenaud, Kamui Kobayashi, and Mike Rockenfeller at IMSA’s season opener for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, AXR team manager Gary Nelson says the team is preparing for the No. 48 to return for the three remaining endurance races on the calendar.
“We’re pushing very hard for it and really want to do it,” he told RACER. “I know the drivers want another shot. Hopefully, we can put it all together. It isn’t done; we’ve still got some T’s to cross, but we’re working to make something happen.”
Nelson hopes to have a similar line-up to what was used at the Rolex 24.
“I’ve done the checking and we’re good on any conflicts with the four drivers if we can do this again,” he said. “That’s the first thing I looked at when we were done with Daytona, and everyone said let’s do Sebring, and let’s do Watkins Glen, and Road Atlanta.”
AXR’s No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac was a force of similar strength at Daytona until gearbox failure struck. With the high probability of the No. 48 joining in at Sebring — a venue where AXR has won numerous times — Nelson has visions of shared success at the March 16-18 event.
“We’ve done alright at Sebring, and if we go with two cars, it will be to finish 1-2,” he said. “With the 48 car, it was a magical group, and we learned a little bit in what they want the car to be. We didn’t get a lot of practice time to sort it out before the race, so we got to see Kamui and Simon and Rocky and Jimmie come together very fast.
“Jimmie had the least experience, but got better and better; his trend line was really impressive. He soaked up everything from his teammates, and I’d stack him up against anybody. Hopefully we can keep the candle burning with them.”