IMSA: Mano A Mano; Action Express Cars Set To Duel For Prototype Crown

RaceChaser Staff Featured, Road Racing, WeatherTech 0 Comments

Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi lead the Prototype standings in the No. 5, but the Whelen-sponsored team car also fielded by Action Express Racing (background) is only one point behind. (IMSA photo)

Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi lead the Prototype standings in the No. 5, but the Whelen-sponsored team car also fielded by Action Express Racing (background) is only one point behind. (IMSA photo)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A pair of Corvette Daytona Prototypes from Action Express Racing is separated by only one point heading into this Saturday’s Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of The Americas, the second-to-last round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Two-time and defending Prototype champions Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, drivers of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP, lead teammates Dane Cameron and Eric Curran in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette DP, 253-252. The team is riding a streak of three consecutive 1-2 finishes, with Barbosa and Fittipaldi winning at Watkins Glen, while Cameron and Curran triumphed at both Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Road America.

“With only two races to go, and Action Express Racing one-two, it’s going to be a fun ending for the championship,” Barbosa said. “You only need to win by one point. We go to COTA next, and then a lot can happen in the 10-hour Petit Le Mans. We’re looking forward to the end of the championship.”

Brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor, drivers of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP, are a close third in the standings with 242 points. They are followed by Marc Goossens, who joins Ryan Dalziel in the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP, with 223 points.

Other challengers include the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Curb Records/AERO Honda Ligier JS P2 of Ozz Negri and John Pew, the No. 0 Panoz DeltaWing Racing Coupe of Katherine Legge and Sean Rayhall and a pair of Mazda Prototypes, the No. 55 Castrol/ModSpace Mazda for Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez, as well as the No. 70 of Tom Long and Joel Miller.

Robert Alon and Tom Kimber-Smith won at Road America in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Professional Security Consultants/Westfield ORECA FLM09, ending Starworks Motorsport’s seven-race podium streak and closing to within seven points of the lead in the Prototype Challenge standings.

With two victories and three runner-up finishes this season, Alon and Kimber-Smith have 286 points, trailing only Alex Popow and Renger van der Zande with 293 points. Alon and Kimber-Smith also won at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, placing on the podium in seven of the nine races.

“We’re definitely pushing for the championship,” said Alon, who will be racing at Circuit of The Americas for the first time. “We’re a little bit behind, but I think it’s definitely within our grasp. We just have to keep our heads down. COTA is pretty big with a lot of corners, but I’ve raced it on the simulator and I think it should be a fun place to race and pretty good for our team.”

Popow and van der Zande won three of the four races leading up to Road America, but a sixth-place finish cut the leading margin for the drivers of the No. 8 ORECA. Starworks also fields the No. 7 Aviation Gin ORECA of Gustavo Yacaman and Jose Gutierrez, along with the No. 88 Popcorn Sutton entry of Mark Kvamme and Richard Bradley.

Winning two races this season were Misha Goikhberg and Stephen Simpson, drivers of the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports LaModerna/Hi-Tide Boat Lifts/Red Line Oil ORECA, who triumphed in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and at Long Beach. No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA co-drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun currently sit fourth in the standings.

BAR1 Motorsports has a two-car entry for Austin. Bruno Junqueira joins Matt McMurry in the No. 20 Gas Monkey Energy/Southwest Funding/Top 1 Oil ORECA, while John Falb joins Don Yount in the No. 26 ORECA. Rounding out the PC entry is the Performance Tech Motorsports No. 38 Ric-Man Construction / Children’s Miracle Network / NeuroSpine Institute ORECA of James French.

CREDIT: IMSA Communications

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