TUSC: Fittipaldi and Barbosa Looking to Narrow Prototype Gap; Road America Next for TUDOR Championship

RaceChaser Staff Featured, Midwest, Road Racing, WeatherTech 0 Comments

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – official series release — IMSA photo —

Action Express Racing co-drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa return to historic Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., looking to repeat last year’s victory on the challenging 4.048-mile circuit.

Fittipaldi and Barbosa also are looking to narrow the gap in the Prototype standings at the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, one of only three Prototype races remaining in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.

The two-hour, 40-minute race will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 3 p.m. EST. Joining the Prototypes are the Prototype Challenge (PC), GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes, the first combined event for the four TUDOR Championship classes since the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in June.

The co-drivers of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP, are seven points behind Prototype point leaders Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook from VisitFlorida.com Racing, 221-214. Fittipaldi and Barbosa have placed in the top five in all seven races this season, with their lone victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida. Last year, the duo won three races en route to the Prototype class title.

“We need to win races to compete for this championship,” Barbosa said. “The season comes down to the last three races and we need to finish in front of our main competitors – and that means winning. Our competitors are very strong so we need flawless execution in the last races of the season.”

“I’ve always liked Road America since my first IndyCar days,” said Fittipaldi, who scored his first Champ Car victory at the circuit in 1999. “It’s a fast track and challenging all together. I’ve had a lot of success there and I’m really looking forward to going back. Having previous success at a track you are going back to is always an extra boost, especially if you like the place.”

Valiante and Westbrook won at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Watkins Glen International this season in the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Corvette DP. The pair finished fourth in last year’s inaugural TUDOR Championship race at Road America.

Action Express Racing’s No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP of Eric Curran and Dane Cameron is third in the standings, 11 points behind the leaders. They combined to win at Detroit’s Raceway at Belle Isle Park in May, while Cameron also scored a GT Daytona (GTD) class victory in the most recent TUDOR Championship race at Lime Rock Park. Both drivers won at Road America in 2014, with Cameron taking GTD honors while Curran won overall in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.

Ricky and Jordan Taylor are two-time winners this season in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP for Wayne Taylor Racing – including the most recent round at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – and are 15 points out of the championship lead.

Another duo to watch is Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian’s Ozz Negri and John Pew, who finished second at Road America in 2014, and have scored podium finishes in three of the last four races driving the No. 60 U.S. AutoForce Ligier JS P2/Honda.

Other contenders include Scott Pruett and Joey Hand in the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost/Riley; Katherine Legge and Memo Rojas in the No. 0 Claro Video/TracFone DeltaWing DWC13; and the No. 07 Mazda/Castrol/ModSpace Mazda Prototype of Tom Long and Joel Miller.

CREDIT: IMSA Communications

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