Story By: WHELEN ENGINEERING RACING – SEBRING, FL – After capturing the opening round of the 2018 IMSA Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup during January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona, Whelen Engineering Racing will target a third consecutive podium finish in the challenging 12 Hours of Sebring presented by Advanced Auto Parts this weekend.
The race is the second round of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which saw the team get off to a fast start at Daytona with a run to second overall with the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing DPi-V.R.
Sharing the driving duties will once again be Eric Curran (US), Felipe Nasr (BR), and Mike Conway (UK). Conway and Curran raced to a third place result in the event in 2017, with Curran scoring second for Whelen Engineering Racing in 2016.
Curran has a particular fondness for the track, as it is one that played host for a key experience for the American racer with Whelen Engineering Racing .
“The very first race that I drove for Sonny (Whelen) was Sebring, and in the first race of the weekend we had an oil filter fail and it caught fire—nearly burned to the ground,” said Curran of the 2007 race weekend. “But the team worked all night long and we came back and won the race the next day. It was just incredible and that was an amazing way to start with Whelen.”
The team recently had the opportunity to test on the 3.7-mile circuit in a series open test event hosted by IMSA as the drivers made the most of the time they had behind the wheel of the Cadillac Prototype machine.
“The Sebring test went pretty well!” said Nasr, who finished third in last weekend’s Brazilian StockCar all-star invitational event. “Sebring is always a fun and challenging track to drive, but most importantly during the test we worked to understand how the car reacts to changes because a well set up car here can make a big difference, especially over the bumps.”
With the event once again attracting an all-star roster of talent with international interest in the teams and drivers that are set to compete, the run to the top of the podium will no doubt be a hard fought one for whomever emerges with the victory.
“It’s going to be very hard again!” predicts Nasr. “From what I saw from the test, it’s seems like the field is pretty close once more. Sebring is a tough track, but I feel confident on our package as a team to fight them, as long we can keep running our cars trouble free.”
Entering the event with a strong start to the season for both Action Express Racing-managed entries once again sees the Denver, NC-based organization pushing for the top results.
“It is pretty exciting for Action Express as a team to be 1-2 in the Endurance Cup as well as in the (IMSA WeatherTech) standings,” said Curran. “Obviously we’d like the Whelen machine to be on top of the standings and the goal is for this team to be 1-2 the whole year. I feel like this is a really strong program with our guys, the car prep has been awesome and this is a great driver line up to be a part of.”
After the Rolex 24, Nasr took to the open waters with some of his Action Express Racing teammates as he tried his hand at some off-shore fishing while getting to know his teammates a little bit better as well.
“My teammates are all crazy—we all dressed up Miami Vice style for the boat! It was a lot of fun but I have to admit that I got sick out there! But it is always great spending time outside the track with your teammates.”
The race weekend will open with a full day of practice on Thursday that includes a night session, with Friday qualifying setting the grid ahead of the 10:30 AM launch for the 12 Hour (FS1 broadcast opening at 10:30 AM ET).