Joining championship-winning drivers Dane Cameron and Eric Curran behind the steering wheel of the No. 31 Whelen/Team Fox Cadillac DPi-V.R – in the top-level of IMSA competition in the Prototype class – will be veteran Mike Conway and youngster Seb Morris. It will mark Conway’s debut in the 24 hour endurance test at Daytona International Speedway. Morris captured the 2017 Sunoco Whelen Challenge in the British GT3 series to earn the chance to compete at the 3.56-mile Daytona road course.
Conway, who’s from England, competed in Indy cars from 2009 to 2014, picking up four wins in 72 career starts. He captured the checkered flag at the Long Beach, Calif. street circuit (2011 and 2014), the Belle Isle street course in Detroit (2013) and the race through the streets of Toronto (2014). During his Indy car career, he drove for team owners A.J. Foyt, Michael Andretti, Dale Coyne and Ed Carpenter
This past season, Conway finished third in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) driving for the Toyota Gazoo Racing team. During the season, he claimed one victory (Six Hours of Fuji), along with three second-place results (Silverstone, Shanghai and Le Mans). In addition to his runner-up result in the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year, he has also competed in the historic event in 2013 and 2015.
Morris, who finished third in the final British GT3 championship point standings, earned the Sunoco Whelen Challenge title and becomes the eighth annual winner to earn a spot in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. In his recently completed season, the 21-year-old racer drove a Bentley GT-3 for Team Parker Racing and registered one win, four pole positions and one fastest race lap.
“We’re looking forward to having Mike and Seb drive the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Prototype at Daytona,” said Gary Nelson, team manager for the Action Express Racing organization, which will field the No. 31 entry. “Although we haven’t worked with Mike before, we’re familiar with his background and experience, as well as all his accomplishments. Seb is a talented young driver and we’re excited to have him as part of our program at Daytona.”
In 2016, co-drivers Cameron and Curran earned the WeatherTech Series driver’s championship in the Prototype class in the No. 31 Whelen entry.
En route to the 2016 driver’s title, Cameron and Curran had a pair of wins during the season – finishing first at Wisconsin’s Road America (Aug. 7) and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (July 10). Along with the two wins, the duo recorded runner-up results at Circuit of the Americas in Texas (Sept. 18), New York’s Watkins Glen International (July 3) and Florida’s Sebring International Raceway (March 19).
One year ago at Daytona, Cameron and Curran teamed with Simon Pagenaud and Jonny Adam to register a sixth-place finish in the 24 hour race.
Since the Action Express Racing organization was formed in 2010 the team has registered 16 wins in sports car competition, including a pair of wins in the 24 Hours of Daytona (2010 and 2014), a victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring (2015) and a first-place finish in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (2015). In addition, the team has collected checkered flags at a number of historic race tracks, including Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2014), Road America (2014, 2015 and 2016) and Watkins Glen International (2012, 2013 and 2016).
All four drivers from the Whelen Racing Team will be testing at Daytona International Speedway this week (Dec. 13-14).
The 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will feature 10 races. Along with the 24 hour race at Daytona International Speedway (Jan. 28-29), the schedule will include endurance events at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway (March 18), New York’s Watkins Glen International (July 2) and Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (Oct.7).
Veteran sports car racer Filipe Albuquerque will return to the Mustang Sampling Team for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, Jan. 28-29, 2017.
Albuquerque will join full-time drivers Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, which will be fielded by the Action Express Racing organization at the 3.56-mile Daytona road course.
In addition to competing at Daytona with the team one year ago, Albuquerque also drove the Mustang Sampling race car at last year’s IMSA endurance events at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway and the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. At Daytona, he joined Barbosa, Fittipaldi and Scott Pruett behind the steering wheel of the No. 5 entry to register a fourth-place finish. The trio also finished third at Sebring and fifth at Road Atlanta.
This year will mark the fifth straight start for Albuquerque in the twice around-the-clock endurance race. He made his debut at the track in 2013, finishing first in the GT class with Alex Job Racing. The following two years he added starts in the GTD class (2014) and the PC class (2015). The native of Portugal has also made three straight starts in the 24 Hours of Le Mans (2014 to 2016).
This past season, Albuquerque finished second in the LMP2 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). He picked up a pair of wins during the just-completed campaign in the Six Hours of Silverstone and the Six Hours of Mexico, as well as four second-place finishes (Nurburgring, Mexico, Circuit of the Americas and Bahrain).
“Filipe was with us last season at Daytona and we’re happy to have him back in 2017,” said Gary Nelson, team manager for the Action Express Racing organization. “We developed a strong relationship with Filipe a year ago, and he was a very good teammate to Joao and Christian. He was an asset to our Daytona program and we expect him to again be an important part of our efforts at Daytona this year.”
Both full-time drivers of the No. 31 Mustang Sampling Cadillac – Barbosa and Fittipaldi – have had success in the 24 hour race at Daytona. In 2010, Barbosa picked up the overall victory in the Daytona endurance test in the No. 9 Action Express Racing organization Prototype with co-drivers Terry Borcheller, Mike Rockenfeller and Ryan Dalziel. Four years later, Barbosa and Fittipaldi, along with co-drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Burt Frisselle, guided the No. 5 Action Express Racing organization Prototype to a victory in the 2014 race at Daytona. In that race, they led a little less than half the race (298 of 695 laps) en route to the checkered flag.
Along with success at Daytona, Barbosa and Fittipaldi have collected plenty of championship hardware in IMSA competition over the past few years. The duo earned a pair of driver’s championships in the IMSA Prototype class in 2014 and 2015, and in each of the past three years (2014 to 2016), Barbosa and Fittipaldi have also collected the North American Endurance Cup in the Prototype class.
In 2016, Barbosa and Fittipaldi ended the year in second-place in the final driver’s championship standings. They picked up one win during the season at Watkins Glen International, as well as runner-up results at Wisconsin’s Road America, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Belle Isle, Mich. and Long Beach, Calif.
All three drivers of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac will be testing at Daytona International Speedway this week (Dec. 13-14).
The 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will feature 10 races, including endurance races at Daytona International Speedway (Jan. 28-29), Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway (March 18), New York’s Watkins Glen International (July 2) and Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (Oct.7).
Source. Action Express Racing