Three months removed from scoring a second consecutive championship sweep, North Carolina-based Action Express Racing took to the high banks of Daytona International Speedway for the annual three-day Roar Before the 24 in preparation for the 54th anniversary of the Western Hemisphere’s most prestigious endurance race.
“Preparing for the Rolex 24 for our team is like an NFL team preparing for the Super Bowl,” said team manager Gary Nelson. “We had a plan for how we wanted to approach the Roar and we were able to execute according to that plan throughout the weekend.
“On the first day our goal was just to get everyone comfortable in the cars and get the drivers and engineers on the same page with their communication. That was a smooth transition and that allowed us to move onto our lists of items that we wanted to accomplish on the second and third day.”
While Action Express Racing has the same four full-time drivers returning for the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the addition of five-time overall winner Scott Pruett, IndyCar standout Simon Pagenaud and sportscar ace Filipe Albuquerque meant adjusting to new surroundings. Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner Jonny Adam also joined the team, making his first laps in a prototype driving the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Corvette DP.
For Pruett, piloting the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP in the familiar surroundings of Daytona International Speedway has been a learning experience; nevertheless, he’s hopeful the third time will be the charm as he tries to break the tie with Hurley Haywood for most overall wins in Rolex 24.
“Certainly being with a team like Action Express Racing is great,” said Pruett. “These cars are certainly very different than what I’ve driven the last twelve years, Christian and Joao have been great to work with helping to figure out some of the ins and outs of the Coyote chassis and these Corvette DPs. The cars are fast and I know the team is incredible so I’m looking forward to getting back here and hopefully getting a sixth overall win.”
While Pruett is looking for his sixth overall victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Dane Cameron and co-drivers Eric Curran, Simon Pagenaud and Jonny Adam are seeking their first triumphs in the event.
“It’s great to be part of an unchanged program and build on all the success we had last year and all the development work that has been done,” said Cameron. “We should have a good chance to not only win the Rolex 24 but also the Prototype championship for our team and for Chevrolet.
“Last year we were in the getting-to-know you phase – trying to learn everyone’s name, understand the car and what the car likes. Now that all is out of the way and we can get elbow-deep in and contribute to the team and work on the progress of this Corvette DP to make sure they are well-suited for the race. You couldn’t ask for anyone better than Action Express to prepare the car. We’ll have two fantastic race cars for the Rolex, and we’ll be as prepared as we possibly can be for when we come back for the race.”
In total, Action Express Racing completed over 1900 miles during the three days, valuable track time that team manager Gary Nelson and his team will use in their pursuit for a third overall victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Source. Hi-Rev Racing