The Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R will return to Daytona International Speedway for this weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24, continuing preparation in a quest for its second consecutive victory in America’s premier endurance race.
Joao Barbosa, Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi return from the 2018-winning lineup, to be joined by Mike Conway, who finished second a year ago in Action Express Racing’s No. 31 Whelen Engineering entry.
The Roar will also give the Mustang Sampling drivers the opportunity to test the new Michelin tires that will be utilized in 2019.
With the garage and pit selections having been made via championship points in the past, IMSA introduced a new approach ahead of the 2018 season. The Roar will include a special 15-minute qualifying session beginning at 12:15 p.m. ET on Sunday, which will determine coveted garage and pit road assignments for the Jan. 26-27 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Barbosa and Fittipaldi are three-time Rolex 24 winners. They co-drove for Action Express winning the 2014 event – the first race for the unified IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Barbosa also won in 2010, AXR’s debut event.
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling team also finished second in 2015 and 2017, with the team posting at least a top-five finish over the last nine years in the Daytona classic.
The season-opening Rolex 24 will also be the final Prototype race in Fittipaldi’s storied career, which spans Formula One, Indy cars and the NASCAR Cup Series. He won the Rolex 24 in 2004 for Bell Motorsports, the first overall victory for a Daytona Prototype in the event.
The Daytona Prototype international competitors will have seven practice sessions at the Roar, totaling more than eight hours of track time.
The weekend will also feature a busy schedule of media interviews, photo shoots, and IMSA event promoter engagement as the series ramps up for the highly anticipated 50th Anniversary season for IMSA.
Schedule: Friday’s two sessions begin at 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. ET. Saturday will have testing at 10 a.m. and 3:35 p.m., followed by a night session from 6:45-8 p.m. Sunday practice will be at 10:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.
The three-time and co-defending IMSA TPNAEC Champion, João Barbosa returns to Action Express Racing to drive the familiar #5 gold, black and white Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R seeking his third IMSA WeatherTech Championship at the pinnacle of North American sports car competition. João resides in Charlotte, NC with his wife and two sons. He is an avid runner and cyclist.
Filipe joins the defending Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup and two-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship winning No .5 MustangSampling Cadillac Dpi-V.R for the full 2018 IMSA campaign. Filipe resides in his hometown of Cambria, Portugal.
Two-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Champion driver Christian Fittipaldi returns to Action Express Racing for his sixth full season of competition following a fourth consecutive Tequila Patron’ North American Endurance Cup title with co-driver João Barbosa. Fittipaldi has been appointed Sporting Director for Action Express Racing, and will continue to race in the endurance events starting in 2018. Outside of sports car racing, the Brazilian satiates his need for competition by racing in mountain bike and karting events, both in the U.S. and his home country of Brazil.
Mike Conway joins Mustang Sampling Racing for the 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona. Conway has years of experience across several different racing platforms that include winning outings in IndyCar and World Endurance Championship competition as well as big performances in FIA Formula E.
Source. Sunday Group