Action Express Racing (AXR) today announced that Pipo Derani (Brazil) and Tristan Nunez (Boca Raton, Florida) will be the full-time drivers in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R for the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship season. Mike Conway (Britain) will join the team for the four endurance events.
Nunez joins AXR and the Whelen Engineering Cadillac after most recently competing in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship LMP2 class. Prior to that, he drove a Mazda DPi where he posted two podium finishes at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Sebring in July 2020. In 2019, he won at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in the Mazda DPi and added podium finishes at Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen and Road America. Nunez is currently tied for second in points in the IMSA WeatherTech LMP2 Championship point standings.
“Over my entire career, Cadillac has always been the car to beat,” Nunez said. “I’ve always admired Action Express Racing’s ability to produce well-earned victories and beautifully run races. This is a huge step in my career and I’m excited for the challenge.
“I couldn’t be happier to be paired with Pipo. Year-after-year, he’s proven to be one of the best. Off track, I feel we will have great camaraderie, which I feel is a key component to having success in this sport. Having Mike as a third [driver] solidifies the 31 Whelen Cadillac as a force to be reckoned with.”
In 2022, Derani will enter his fourth season with AXR driving the Whelen Cadillac. He has five wins since joining the team in 2019 to go along with nine additional podium finishes.
“I am happy that I will be back behind the wheel of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R next year for what will be my fourth season with the team,” Derani said. “IMSA has proven to be one of the best and most competitive racing series in the world with some of the most amazing endurance races a driver can be a part of. Coming back to fight for more wins and championships with AXR felt like a logical and easy decision to make.
“I am also very happy to welcome Tristan to the Whelen Engineering/AXR team. Tristan has had a fantastic stint with Mazda and I am sure, together, we will form a very strong partnership. [We] expect to win!”
Team director Gary Nelson likes his driver line-up for 2022. “Tristan will be new to our team. But, with the experience we have on the pit box together with Pipo and Mike helping him with the nuances of the Cadillac DPi-V.R, he will fit right into the team. He has a lot of miles in the DPi category so the competition level will be familiar to him as well. We are looking forward to continuing to run up front and compete for the IMSA WeatherTech DPi Championship in 2022.”
Derani and current co-driver Felipe Nasr head into season the finale just 19 points behind in the DPi Driver Point Championship with 3,052 points. The team is also second in the Team Point Championship. This season, Whelen Engineering/Action Express has three wins, six podiums and four poles.
Source. Kyle Chura Associates/Photo. Brian Cleary