Action Express No. 5 Clinches Endurance Cup Title

RaceChaser Staff Featured, WeatherTech 0 Comments

Action Express Racing has clinched its fourth-consecutive Tequila Patrón Endurance Cup championship. (IMSA photo)

BRASELTON, Ga. — The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R team is now four-time champions of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

The team of Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque was running second at the four-hour mark of the Motul Petit Le Mans, and that result — coupled with the early retirement of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R of Jordan and Ricky Taylor and Ryan Hunter-Reay — brought the team its fourth straight Patrón Endurance Cup.

By starting the 10-hour race at Road Atlanta, the No. 10 team clinched the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype title.

“Four times in a row,” Fittipaldi said. “It is a huge accomplishment and it came from a massive effort from the whole team. For the drivers to make sure they keep it on the black stuff, and obviously for the team and all the preparation—it boils down to Action Express doing an awesome job. If the car doesn’t finish, we don’t get points so we would never be in this position. We had the focus to have fast and consistent cars with the Corvette and then with the Cadillac.

“We are happy to win this Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup this year and hats off to the 10 car guys on their overall IMSA championship as well. They did a great job, particularly at the first half of the season.  We will regroup and learn from our mistakes, emphasize what we did well and then come back to be even stronger in 2018.”

Cadillac also clinched the Patrón Endurance Cup manufacturer title, leading Nissan by nine points, 48-39, with a maximum of six points that can be gained.

The No. 22 Tequila Patrón ESM Nissan DPi of Johannes van Overbeek, Pipo Derani and Bruno Senna led the Motul Petit Le Mans at the four-hour mark.

The No. 5 team, drivers and Cadillac join No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA FLM09 and its trio of co-drivers, James French, Patricio O’Ward and Kyle Masson as 2017 Patrón Endurance Cup champions.

The No. 38 teammates clinched the Prototype Challenge (PC) title at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in July. By leading at the four-hour mark in the Motul Petit Le Mans, the No. 38 team now has earned the maximum five points for every Patrón Endurance Cup segment this season.

While the Prototype titles have already been wrapped up, it’s still wide open in the chase for the Patrón Endurance Cup in both GT classes.

In GT Le Mans (GTLM), No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR co-drivers Dirk Werner and Patrick Pilet doubled their lead in the standings, but only from two points to four, 36-32, over No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT co-drivers Dirk Mueller and Joey Hand.

The No. 911 was second at the four-hour mark in GTLM, while the No. 66 was sixth.

The No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW trio of Bill Auberlen, Alexander Sims and Kuno Wittmer were third. In the manufacturer race for the Patrón Endurance Cup in GTLM, Ford leads Porsche by a single point, 38-37.

In GT Daytona, there was a tie at the top of the Patrón Endurance Cup standings at the four-hour mark in the Motul Petit Le Mans between the No. 33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3 trio of Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Mario Farnbacher and the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Matteo Cressoni and full-season co-drivers Alessandro Balzan and Christina Nielsen.

Balzan and Nielsen clinched their second straight WeatherTech Championship GTD title by starting the race.

CREDIT: IMSA Communications

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