Action Express Racing (AXR) has enlisted José María López (Argentina) to join Mike Rockenfeller (Germany) and Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts to run at Sebring International Raceway, March 16-19.
Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, Calif.) will not be able to join the team due to his NTT INDYCAR SERIES commitment at Texas Motor Speedway. López drove the Ally Cadillac at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona just three weeks ago, finishing fifth in class.
López and Kobayashi will do double duty that weekend, as the duo will also compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) event. The green flag is set for noon March 18 for eight hours of competition.
“It was great to be a part of the Ally Cadillac team at Daytona 24,” López said. “I was very proud of the team effort and how Jimmie, Mike, and Kamui drove in the race. Things just didn’t go our way. We had good pace. It was my first experience at Daytona and racing in America. It was much better than what I expected. I was happy with my performance in the car.
“This is a plus. I was planning to be in Sebring anyway, unfortunately Jimmie isn’t able to do both INDYCAR and IMSA at the same time. I will be there for the first WEC race. We race on Friday with Toyota and then I will cross the garage and race on Saturday in the Ally Cadillac. I am really thankful for the opportunity to drive again with Action Express Racing and hopefully me, Mike and Kamui can deliver a good result.”
Team director Gary Nelson anticipated the move when the series announced their 2022 schedules.
“We have had this contingency plan in place since INDYCAR announced their schedule and we saw that there would be conflict with their Texas event,” Nelson said. “It was really an easy decision to bring in José María. He ran with us at Daytona, did all the testing leading up to the Rolex, so slotting him in was a no brainer. He and Kamui are running the WEC race as well. But, they are fit, and I think the extra laps at Sebring can only help us come race day for our Ally Cadillac effort in the 12 hour race. We will miss Jimmie and wish him all the best in Texas.”
While Johnson will be missing competing with his Ally Cadillac teammates in Sebring, he will be focusing his attention on piloting his CARVANA INDYCAR in his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES oval race at Texas Motor Speedway.
“I was really looking forward to going back and racing the Ally Cadillac at Sebring,” Johnson said. “We had a great run there last season and were in contention for the win for most of the race. José María is an excellent driver and he will do great. I know the team’s experienced and they can get the Ally Cadillac up on the podium – hopefully the top step.”
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will take the green flag on March 19 at 10:10 a.m.
Source. Kyle Chura Associates /Photo. Brian Cleary