Elliott aiming to “not mess up” Rolex 24 for co-drivers

Reigning NASCAR Cup champion Chase Elliott says his main intention in his first attempt at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona is to not ruin the winning chances of his sportscar veteran teammates.

Elliott aiming to “not mess up” Rolex 24 for co-drivers

Elliott will be sharing Action Express Racing’s #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R with three of the best IMSA Prototype drivers – Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani and Mike Conway – and the 2020 NASCAR champ is keeping his own ambitions modest.

He told IMSA.com: “I think as you step into a situation like that, the biggest thing is just to not mess it up for them. That’s my mindset. I feel like they would have a great shot to win without me.

“It’s doable with three drivers, it makes it difficult, though, so having four, I think gives the drivers a little bit more of a chance to rest and to also, if someone isn’t feeling well, it makes the process better to have four.

“So my mindset is just to try to learn as much as I can from those other guys and not mess anything up for them…

“I anticipate it’s going to be a challenge; I don’t think it’s going to be easy. Those guys that do that stuff all the time are very good at it, and they spend all year long developing and working on the skills to go fast in those specific cars.

“A lot of us that don’t drive those cars all year long, jumping in there in their biggest event of the year is a tough thing. I’m just going to try to learn and to learn fast and hope we can make it to the end.’’

Elliott said that racing the Rolex 24 Hours was “definitely something I’ve had an interest in for a long time and had hopes an opportunity would come up at some point to do it. I didn’t really anticipate it would be this quick.”

Despite five of his 11 Cup wins coming on road courses, the 25-year-old from Dawsonville, GA, said that he didn’t consider himself a natural road racer but that he’d walked into the right environment to learn at Hendrick Motorsports.

“I just really kind of came into a good situation,” he said. “Jeff [Gordon] was a really good road course racer and he and Alan [Gustafson, crew chief] had a really nice foundation and focused on a lot of things that I think are really important on the road racing front.

“When you step into a good situation like that… it certainly helps you not only learn quicker, but also learn the right way and learn the right things.”

AXR team manager Gary Nelson has professed amazement at how quickly Elliott was on the pace in the simulator and the quality of his feedback, but the NASCAR champ’s first laps in the Caddy won’t come until the Jan. 22-24 Roar Before the Rolex 24.

 

shares
comments

Related video

Barbosa gets full-season IMSA drive in LMP3 class
Previous article

Barbosa gets full-season IMSA drive in LMP3 class

Next article

Gavin, Bell to race Vasser Sullivan Lexus at Rolex 24

Gavin, Bell to race Vasser Sullivan Lexus at Rolex 24
Load comments
The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence Prime

The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence

Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the FIA World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy Prime

Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy

Can Mazda win this year’s IMSA Prototype championship? Undoubtedly. But it will be the culmination of an achingly hard struggle, after which the brand has decided to quit. David Malsher-Lopez tells the story of a bizarre blend of heartache and positivity.

IMSA
Apr 6, 2021
The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC Prime

The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s decision to scrap its GT Le Mans class for 2022 raises the question of whether the FIA World Endurance Championship should phase out GTE cars. But it's a much harder decision than it appears on the surface.

WEC
Feb 3, 2021
Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona Prime

Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona

After a 100-minute sprint race to whet the appetite, the 2021 IMSA SportsCar Championship gets underway properly this weekend. With plenty of significant changes during the winter, here are the key points you need to keep an eye on

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars Prime

Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars

Having gone over seven years without a race win through spells with McLaren, Renault and Haas, Kevin Magnussen's departure from Formula 1 for IMSA with big-hitters Chip Ganassi Racing could give him what he craves most - a chance of success

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights Prime

Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights

Oliver Gavin has stepped down from the full-time Corvette Racing line-up after a stellar career with the team spanning nearly 20 years. He looks back on a stint that encompassed, among other successes, five Le Mans 24 Hours victories.

Le Mans
Jan 28, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Prime

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it…

Le Mans
Jan 24, 2021
The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked Prime

The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked

The 2020 edition of the Florida sportscar classic is finally taking place this weekend, eight months after its traditional date in March. That meant there was plenty of time for Motorsport.com to pour over its previous 67 races and select the best.

IMSA
Nov 11, 2020