By: Kobe Lambeth
Action Express Racing is ready to tackle the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship once again in 2016. Everything will remain intact from last season as the team looks to add another title to its resume. However, there were a few unanswered questions, so Team Manager, Gary Nelson was the right man to ask.
2016 will be the final season for the Corvette DP as IMSA will introduce a new prototype formula in 2017. Nelson believes that it will be a memorable season for the tried and trusted Daytona Prototype.
“We expect to compete for wins and championships with both cars,” Nelson said.
After many successful seasons with the Corvette DP, Action Express Racing is looking to send its Coyote chassis out on top with a championship. Looking towards 2017, Gary Nelson believes that the new Daytona Prototype International (DPi) regulations seem “pretty exciting.” Nelson confirmed that the team has not decided on an LMP2 chassis or engine partner for 2017. However, he is hopeful that GM will continue in Prototype with Chevrolet or Cadillac.
Reflecting on last season, Action Express Racing had success with the Number 5 and 31 Corvette DP’s. It was a breakout season for young American Dane Cameron. However, Nelson is committed to every single driver on the team and not just Cameron.
“All members of our program are long-term,” Nelson said.
It is great to see that Action Express Racing is committed to having Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi, Dane Cameron, and Eric Curran for the immediate future. Stability is very crucial as they race into the future.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona is a race that means a lot to every driver that has ever raced at Daytona International Speedway. Love for this track goes deep for Gary Nelson.
“We race each event with a high degree of confidence. Acquiring trophies from Daytona in any series is the hardest thing to do in American racing. Personally, I want the 2016 Daytona trophy now just as bad as I wanted the first Daytona 500 trophy in 1982. Every racer feels the same. Winning in any series at Daytona is beating the best.”
Nelson’s dream might become a reality as they added tons of star power for the endurance races. In the Number 31 Whelen Corvette DP, Aston Martin Racing driver Jonny Adam and IndyCar star Simon Pagenaud will join regulars Cameron and Curran in the Rolex 24. In the Number 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP, Audi factory driver Filipe Albuquerque and five-time overall winner of the Rolex 24 Scott Pruett will join Barbosa and Fittipaldi. Pruett joins Action Express Racing as he hopes to break the tie with the legend Hurley Haywood for overall victories. Gary Nelson has a large amount of respect for Pruett.
“The long endurance races at Daytona and Sebring are always won by teams that make the best decisions. During these events, most of the critical decisions will be made by the drivers thousands of times per lap. Brake here or go in a little deeper? Follow this car another corner or try to get by it now? Nothing is more important than having drivers with a history of making good decisions. No driver available has the credentials that Scott has.”
*Best wishes to Gary Nelson and Action Express Racing! Have an amazing season! Also thanks to Kyle Zimmerman for making this interview possible!*