Whelen Engineering drivers Pipo Derani (Brazil) and Felipe Nasr (Brazil) are excited to get back into the No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R after nearly two months since the last race at Sebring. Heading into this weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Acura Sports Car Challenge presented by TLX Type S at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the Action Express crew looks to give Derani and Nasr “the car” they need to get the team’s first win of the 2021 season.
Derani and Nasr finished second at Mid-Ohio last year. In fact, Derani led the race before his pit stop for a driver change. Unfortunately, the No. 7 Acura’s pit stop was a bit faster, and Nasr spent the final hour battling the No. 7 Acura for the win. In the first two races of this season, the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R has shown tremendous potential, including winning the poles at Daytona and Sebring, and leading both races at various times.
“It feels great to be back. We’ve had a very long wait,” Derani said regarding the two month wait between races. “Due to the reasons (pandemic-related issues) we all know, both of the 2021 spring California races have been rescheduled for the fall of this year. I think it was a well-necessary wait for us as a team. Of course, we are very hungry and can’t wait to be back. But, after the first two races this year, we were very unlucky. I think it was a good time to regroup. We did not start the season like we wanted to, so we’ll come back stronger this weekend.
“We had a strong result last year at Mid-Ohio, even though it’s a track that is not well-suited for our car. So, we’re going into this weekend with a re-grouped mentality in order to achieve a result like we did last year (second place) or even better (win), if possible. Hopefully, we can get a solid result from this race and try to start to turn things around because I’m pretty sure everyone on the team has worked really hard over the past two months. I’m really looking forward to this weekend.”
“It’s been quite a long break since we last raced at Sebring,” Nasr said. “It feels pretty good to be heading back to Mid-Ohio this weekend for the third round of the IMSA Championship. Mid-Ohio is an intense track. It’s a pretty old-school American racetrack. It’s tight and tricky – especially with traffic, which makes it pretty unique. Last year, we came close to the win finishing second. I felt like we maximized our package last year and I can only hope to do a little better this year.
“I made good use of my time back in Brazil – training well and looking after myself. I spent two weeks training by the coast so I’m ready and sharp for the rest of the year. I’m as hungry as ever to get back to victory lane. It can be frustrating sometimes after having the pace, having the car on the pole the past two races, and then not getting the result we wanted.
“We had two pretty difficult races to start the year. But, on the other hand, we have shown the pace of the car. The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac has been on the pole for the past two events. So, all we have to do is execute and have a clean weekend so we can get the result we want. We haven’t been able to get that win yet. I think we all deserve [a win], after all the hard work during the preseason and everything else. I think we have all the ingredients we need to win. Man, I’ve missed driving that car.”
Source. Whelen Engineering/Photo. Whelen/Brian Cleary