MONTEREY, Cali. (22 April 2016) – The defending IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Champions claimed the series point lead following their second place finish in the BUBBA burger SportsCar Grand Prix in Long Beach. Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi will look to carry the early season momentum into the Continental Monterey Grand Prix.
The podium finish in Long Beach marked the second consecutive podium sweep for Action Express Racing and a pivotal points day as the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Chevrolet Corvette Daytona prototype edged out to a three point lead over their teammates in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette DP.
“We had a good result in Long Beach,” said Brazilian driver Christian Fittipaldi. “But that was the last race and we have to stay on our game as we head to Laguna Seca. Points are extremely difficult to gain in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship so as much as we want to win every race, second place finishes are the next best scenario.”
While Fittipaldi and Barbosa aren’t strangers to the podium, it’s no secret that Action Express Racing has historically struggled on the West Coast swing.
“Last year we really struggled in both races in California,” said Barbosa. “As a team we returned home and went to work on what the problems were and that made us stronger throughout the second half of the 2015 season and helped us to win a second consecutive championship.
“Just like last year it looks like we’ll face heavy competition from the Whelen Engineering Corvette DP, which is a great problem to have when you’re racing with such competitive teammates. Hopefully the sharing of information from last year at Laguna Seca will help us improve like we did at Long Beach.”
With 30 percent of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship completed for the Prototype Class, Action Express Racing will be looking to continue the consistency of the last two races.
“We had some races last year where we lost points that we would have gained if we executed properly,” said Nelson. “Our approach remains the same as it always has, ‘Expect to Win’, but we’re focused on maximizing our points when we a win is out of reach.”
The Continental Monterey Grand Prix will return to the original race format of two, two-hour races. The first race will consist of the Prototype and GTLM classes, while the second race will feature the Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona classes. The first race gets underway at 11:15 a.m. PT and will be presented live on FOX Sports 1.