Sebring winners prepared for Long Beach.
Three weeks removed from one of the most dominating performances in recent sports car history, Action Express Racing is seeking back-to-back victories for the second time in it's six-year history.
The drive turned in by the triumvirate of Barbosa, Fittipaldi and Bourdais in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will be talked about for some time. The win was the first for new team sponsor Mustang Sampling in only their second race on the No. 5 Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype.
The stellar performance at Sebring moved the Mustang Sampling Corvette DP to the top of the standings in both the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.
For Porto, Portugal's João Barbosa, the spectacular performance in Sebring is already ancient history.
"You can't dwell on your past success," said Barbosa. "We had a great race in Sebring but that race isn't going to help us in Long Beach. The track is different and our competition has had three weeks to get stronger, so we have to continue looking forward to stay ahead.
"In racing, when you are on-top you become the hunted and you have a target on your back. Everyone wants a chance to knock you off the mountain and the competition is better than I've ever seen this year."
Team car looking for first win
To score a second victory, Barbosa and Fittipaldi know they will have to battle fiercely with their teammates Eric Curran and last year's GTD champion driver Dane Cameron, who've had a very fast No. 31 Whelen/Team Fox Corvette thus far in 2015.
The Whelen Corvette DP had a strong performance hindered by a loose wheel in the mid stages of the Twelve Hours of Sebring much like at the Rolex 24, where the team battled back and scored a fifth place finish, while posting the fastest lap of the event.
With the first two races in the mirror, Curran knows the Whelen Corvette DP is on the verge of a major break out race.
"We've had our setbacks in the first two races," said Curran. "Our team responded each time and its great to be part of a two-car, one-team operation like Action Express Racing. We had the fastest lap at the Rolex 24 in Daytona and we were one of the few cars in Sebring that could maintain the pace of our teammates in the No. 5. Everyone on the Whelen Corvette side of Action Express has a lot to be excited for heading out to the West Coast."
The solid performances turned in by both cars has team owner Bob Johnson optimistic on what the rest of the 2015 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship holds in store for his two-car North Carolina based team.
"To expand to two full-time entries and be first and third in the team standings after the first two events of the season is a testament to our team," said Johnson. "We felt like we could do it when we committed to being a two-car team late last year and so far so good. We've got two great sponsors this year with Mustang Sampling and Whelen Engineering and it's our intention to have both cars fighting for the championship all season."
Nelson: No A or B team
For team manager Gary Nelson going to Long Beach with cars first and third in the points exemplifies the team's emphasis on having two equally prepared cars, and two shots at victory.
"In our team there isn't an A-team and a B-team. Both of our cars are equally prepared and when we unload we have an expectation that both entries will compete for the victory. The two cars have performed well so far and we are going to continue to seek ways of improving all season."
The two Action Express Racing Corvette DPs are first and third in the standings with the No. 90 VISITFLORIDA.COM Racing Corvette DP in second place.
The three Corvette DPs represent the Chevrolet sweep of the top three positions in the TUDOR standings after the first two events of 2015, but they also represent a top three sweep for Coyote Production Management, the Denver, NC based chassis manufacturer.
Coyote Cars became the first different DP chassis constructor to win the championship, snapping a ten-year reign by Riley Technologies.