Whelen Engineering Racing drivers Pipo Derani (Brazil) and Felipe Nasr (Brazil) are set to return to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for this weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Acura Sports Car Challenge Sept. 25 – 27.
The Whelen Engineering/Action Express crew is coming off three consecutive podium finishes, including an amazing drive by Nasr in the late stages of Round Five when he avoided an accident and passed the third place car all in one move to take the final podium spot at Road Atlanta.
Now, the team heads to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a lot of momentum and are determined to continue their recent success. But, it won’t be easy. Mid-Ohio is a 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course that is known to be more of a technical track where passing is difficult. Drivers really must pick their spots and make good decisions if they want to find the top step of the podium. Last year, the team qualified and finished fourth at Mid-Ohio.
“We’re heading into this weekend knowing that it’s going to be a difficult one for the Cadillac, as it’s proven in the past,” Derani said. “But nevertheless, Whelen Engineering/Action Express has always worked really hard going into each race with the expectation to win. It’s not going to be any different this time around. We’ve had three podiums so far and we hope we can continue that this weekend. A podium would be great, but we’re definitely going to go for the win. The Championship is really tight right now between all of the guys in front and every point is going to make a difference in the end. Mid-Ohio is not an easy track because it’s really tight. It makes it difficult to pass and fight GT traffic. But, with perfect execution, we believe we can come out on top.”
“I’m looking forward to the race weekend at Mid-Ohio,” Nasr said. “The team is coming off a strong performance in the last three races, with three podium finishes. We’ve had a pretty successful run with the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R. That certainly give us a boost heading into the weekend.
“When I think about Mid-Ohio, it’s a little bit of a different track to understand in terms of [car] setup because it normally starts at a pretty low grip level. For us as a team, drivers, and engineers, we have to understand how that grip level will evolve over the weekend and make the right adjustments that the car might need. It’s a place where passing and dealing with traffic is pretty tight. It’s pretty much one lane, as you’re going through traffic, to find the right spots to pass. So, all of these challenges make Mid-Ohio a pretty unique place. But, I still like the flow of the track and the combination of corners. We need to keep carrying the momentum and keep closing that gap on the championship. The aim is to fight for another victory.”
Through five rounds, Derani is third in the DPi Driver Point Standings with 145 points, just five points behind the leaders. Nasr is eighth in the standings with 119. The Whelen Engineering Team is third in the DPi Team Championship with 145 points, while the DPi team point leader has 150 points.
The IMSA weekend gets underway with its first practice at 6:10 p.m. (ET) Friday, Sept. 25. Practice #2 (DPi/GTLM) starts at 11:10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26 and is one hour long. The 15-minute DPi qualifying session begins at 8:50 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, followed by the Acura Sports Challenge Round Six race at 2:05 p.m.
Source. Whelen Engineering/Photo. Brian Cleary