The championship-winning Action Express Racing team is expected to return next season with one key change to its line-up in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R.
RACER has learned 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi title winner Felipe Nasr is meant to assume a new factory role with Audi as the German manufacturer prepares to enter the new-for-2023 LMDh category. The Brazilian, who partners with countryman Pipo Derani in the AXR entry, has won the last two IMSA races. Together, they hold second in the standings.
“We have a plan for our drivers in 2022 and beyond that we’re happy about, and that’s all I’m prepared to say,” AXR team manager Gary Nelson told RACER.
With AXR’s appointment as one of two factory Cadillac LMDh teams, Nasr’s anticipated switch to Audi has created a prime opportunity for someone to join the North Carolina-based team that will look to earn another DPi title next season while helping the manufacturer develop and race its next-generation hybrid prototype.
The team also anticipates having the No. 48 Cadillac DPi-V.R co-entered with Hendrick Motorsports back in action. Like the full-time No. 31 AXR machine, the part-time No. 48 will undergo at least one driver change, and like the No. 31, Nelson would not be drawn on who all will pilot the car.
“We’re working hard to get the 48 back on a track for the endurance races,” he continued. “We don’t think we’ve got all of the nuts and bolts to do a full season with 48. And, you know, Jimmie Johnson’s a big part of it. We’re working hard to come back next year with a little bit more experience behind us. Can’t announce anything yet because we’re still working to get all the details down. But we believe what we’ve built in 2021 is becoming a solid program.”