Wearing the mantle of defending champions of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Whelen Engineering enters the 57th Rolex 24 At Daytona looking to step up one position in the 2019 season opener.
Pipo Derani joins the tested title combination of Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R. Derani made his Rolex 24 debut in 2016, running the fastest race lap in leading the Extreme Speed Motorsports Honda Ligier to victory.
Last year, Curran and Nasr combined with Mike Conway and Stuart Middleton in a second-place finish, coming up 1:10.544 shy of the overall victory. The team qualified seventh and led 66 circuits, completing an event-record 808 laps.
In 2017, Curran co-drove with Conway, Dane Cameron and Seb Morris in the debut of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R. They qualified second and led 89 laps en route to finishing sixth, completing 639 of the 659 laps.
Curran and Cameron ran the final Rolex 24 for the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette DP in 2016, joined by IndyCar star Simon Pagenaud and Jonny Adam. They qualified and finished sixth, leading 59 laps while completing 724 of 736 laps, opening a successful run to the WeatherTech Championship Prototype title.
The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette DP was unveiled as part of the Action Express Racing effort in 2015. Curran, Cameron and Max Papis went on to finish fourth after qualifying ninth, completing 721 of 740 laps.
Curran is an 11-time competitor in the Rolex 24, including races in 2013 and 2014 when he ran a Corvette DP carrying the red and white Whelen Engineering livery for Marsh Racing.
Nasr made his Rolex 24 debut in 2012 for Meyer Shank Racing as his prize for winning the Whelen Sunoco Challenge.
Co-driving with Michael McDowell, Jorge Andres Goncalvez and Gustavo Yacaman, he finished third overall in a Ford Riley DP. He ran the 2013 Rolex 24 for Action Express Racing, finishing fifth with Christian Fittipaldi, Brian Frisselle and Nelson Piquet Jr. in the No. 5 Corvette DP.
Derani ran the Rolex 24 three times for ESM prior to joining Whelen Engineering Racing. In addition to winning in 2016, he placed fourth in 2017.
Source. Sunday Group