Productive start to 2014 for Action Express Racing at Sebring and Daytona

Full-season drivers Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais were all on hand at the Sebring test.

Productive start to 2014 for Action Express Racing at Sebring and Daytona

Daytona Beach, Fla. – Action Express Racing completed two productive tests in preparation for the upcoming 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar championship as IMSA staged tests at Sebring International Raceway and Daytona International Speedway this week.

The testing marked the first official laps for the 2014-specification Daytona Prototypes and the TUDOR Championship.

#5 Action Express Racing Chevrolet Corvette DP: Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi
#5 Action Express Racing Chevrolet Corvette DP: Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi

Photo by: Luis Betancourt

Full-season drivers Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi as well as Sebastien Bourdais, who was recently announced as the third driver of the No. 5 Corvette DP for three of the North American Endurance Championship rounds, were all on hand at the Sebring test.

The hard work and preparation of the Action Express Racing team saw the car prepared to take to the track from the moment the green flag flew for the first session of the day on Saturday.

Barbosa spent the morning session at the controls of the No. 5 machine and reported that he was happy with the updates to the new car. Following the lunch break, rain moved into the area for most of the afternoon and the team opted to remain off track until Sunday morning.

Sunday brought much better weather and the team utilized the day to work through a variety of setups on the Corvette DP. All three drivers had the opportunity to take laps and experience the track with the new car, with the Corvette DP setting the fastest time of the two-day test.

Quickly moving from one legendary track to the next, Action Express Racing headed just a couple of hours north to Daytona International Speedway – the site of the Rolex 24 At Daytona which will open the 2014 season on January 25.

Barbosa, Fittipaldi, and Bourdais were back in action at Daytona on Tuesday in the No. 5 Corvette DP, which was also joined by the 2013 spec No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette DP.

Bradley Smith, who won the 2014 Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge, tested the No. 9 with the team as he made his first steps forward in North American racing. Smith has earned the opportunity to race in the huge Rolex event with his European success, and the team was pleased to provide the young Englishman the chance to become familiar with the Daytona Prototype with some testing at the track.

Both Action Express Racing team cars made the most of the available time on Tuesday, taking numerous laps around the famous 3.56-mile circuit. Fittipaldi spent a few laps shaking down the No. 9 machine before handing the car over to Smith, who also eagerly soaked up some tips from the 2004 Rolex 24 winner as Smith was quickly up to speed in the No. 9.

“I had a fantastic first day here at Daytona,” said Smith. “It was a lot to learn with the DP car and also the Daytona circuit with the banking. We managed to get a lot of laps in which was good. The team did a fantastic job of helping me out and making sure I understood what was going on with the car and how to drive it and everything.

To be working on the same team as Christian (Fittipaldi), Joao (Barbosa) and Sebastien (Bourdais) – to have really experienced guys like that offering advice is just amazing. You don’t get much better in DPs than those guys. So to learn and compare to them has been a great help for me.”

Barbosa, Fittipaldi and Bourdais once again were able to work through the team’s pre-set test plan through Tuesday, rotating through so that each driver was able to spend time behind the wheel of the No. 5 Corvette DP.

The day closed with a setback, as the No. 5 Corvette DP experienced a rear tire failure on the team’s final lap of the day and the car sustained damage after rotating and briefly becoming airborne.

The No. 5 was the second car of the test to experience a tire failure resulting in the car getting off the ground, which prompted IMSA and Continental Tire to jointly decide to suspend Prototype testing on Wednesday in order to investigate the issue further.

“Overall through both the Sebring and Daytona tests it was very positive,” offered Elton Sawyer, Director of Team Operations. “Our guys did a great job getting the 2014 spec car ready to go. Bradley Smith did a tremendous job in the No. 9 car which was a 2013 spec car. Now we have something most of our competitors don’t have, plenty of data that we can go back and look through.

Unfortunately we had the tire situation but collectively between IMSA, the teams and Continental, I feel like they have the best people working on it. We’ll take everything we learned and we’ll start getting ready for the Roar testing January 3-5. We expect to be a serious threat not only for the Rolex 24 but anytime we are competing.”

Action Express Racing

shares
comments
BAR1 Motorsports submits two PC entries

Previous article

BAR1 Motorsports submits two PC entries

Next article

Scuderia Corsa prepares for 2014 with two Ferrari 458 Italias

Scuderia Corsa prepares for 2014 with two Ferrari 458 Italias
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