In 2019, Whelen Engineering/Action Express Racing won the 12 Hours of Sebring. Coming off the team’s Championship season from a year ago, drivers Pipo Derani (Brazil), Tristan Nunez (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and Mike Conway (Great Britain) look to return to the winner’s circle in this year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Twelve Hours of Sebring March 16-19 at Sebring International Raceway.
In February, the team put the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R through its paces during the Sebring test days and the drivers are confident they have a solid car that can compete for the team’s third overall win at Sebring. The team won the 12-hour race in 2019 with Derani, Felipe Nasr, and Eric Curran, and won the short Sebring race in 2020. Last year, the team started from the pole position.
Speaking of success, Derani is a three-time winner of the 12-hour race and has four-career overall wins at the 3.74-mile, 17-turn Central Florida road course. That said, Derani is excited to be back at Sebring and is set to do battle in the No. 31 Cadillac.
“I’m looking forward to coming back to Sebring,” Derani said. “I think it’s probably one of my favorite races on the calendar. There is so much history and such a unique atmosphere there that makes it for a great event. The fans are amazing, and the track is fantastic to drive. Personally, I’ve had a lot of success there winning three 12-hour races and the short race we had in 2020. So, it’s a track that I do enjoy driving very much and I think it fits my driving style.
“Since I joined the team, we have won the 12 Hours of Sebring and the short race with the Cadillac. I think it’s a fantastic car. It does very well on the bumpy track at Sebring. We have a great record at that track and we’re definitely looking forward to coming back and trying to fight for another win there. Hopefully, we can come out of Sebring with a very strong result.”
Nunez is no stranger to Sebring. It’s his home track. He’s turned a lot of laps there over the years. And now that he’s got some test laps in the No. 31 Cadillac, he hopes to help the team get its first win of the season in front of his home crowd.
“After the Sebring test, it really opened my eyes to the capability of a prototype car around that track,” Nunez said of his first laps at Sebring in the Cadillac DPi-V.R. “I have some laps under my belt at Sebring. It’s my home track. I’ve driven at that track all the way up from Skip Barber to now. Out of all of the cars I’ve driven, even the other prototype cars that I’ve driven there, this is definitely the quickest, most compliant car especially over the bumps. Man is it quick. I’ll tell you after the first run in the car I was definitely huffing and puffing. But after getting two days of testing in that car, I feel pretty strong. Historically this is one of Action Express’s strongest tracks. So, I’m really looking forward to getting the race weekend started.
“This is my second race with Action Express. It’s great to get that first race under my belt. Pipo, alone, has a stellar record in the 12 Hour and Mike Conway is a defending World Endurance Champion driver So, I’m definitely going to be a sponge and I’m eager to take in as much information as they are willing to give me. Pipo must have some special trick to be able to win a race there. This is definitely a race I’m itching to win since it is my home track and with all of the history that goes behind the 12 Hours of Sebring. I’m really looking forward to competing for a win this weekend.”
Conway returns to the 31 Whelen Cadillac having played a key role at the Rolex 24 in January as well as with the team’s run for the Championship in 2021.
“Really looking forward to being back in the Whelen Engineering Cadillac this weekend at Sebring,” Conway said. “I am ready to pick up where we left off at Daytona. The car was running strong and we are looking to carry that forward. The Action Express team has good history at Sebring and so do the drivers. Looking forward to driving for a result on Saturday.”
Source. Kyle Chura Associates