Sebring, Florida (22 February 2014) – Action Express Racing took part in IMSA United SportsCar Championship testing at Sebring International Raceway on Thursday and Friday and picked up right where the team left off at the Rolex 24 At Daytona – at the top of the leader board.
The Rolex 24 winners returned to the top of the charts during the two-day test and the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi, and Sebastien Bourdais led the way. Bourdais set the quickest lap time of the two-day test of 1:52.480-seconds during Thursday afternoon’s practice session.
Action Express participated in the previous testing opportunity at the 3.74-mile circuit last November and that effort saw the team enter the Thursday-Friday test with a solid database of information to build from.
The same hard work and preparation that earned the group a victory in the season-opener, saw the team right back to work following the win, preparing not only for this week’s Sebring test but also for the 12 Hours of Sebring event, which is set to take the green flag in less than a month.
Despite having a small gearbox issue Thursday morning in which the team made repairs during the first test session, the squad’s hard work away from the track once again paid off as Action Express delivered the time to beat in the second session of the day. It was a successful test that saw the team work through a variety of set-ups on the Corvette machine.
“We came here with a test plan and had a little setback yesterday morning and came right back and got right back on our plan,” said Team Manager Gary Nelson. “We ended this morning’s session with a full fuel tank run to simulate race conditions and the traffic was similar to what we think it will be like during the race. If the temperatures at the race are like how they were this week, we’re going to have a pretty good notebook of race conditions to fall back on and the drivers’ comments have all been very positive.”
The No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP completed more laps than any other car in Thursday’s second session and the team amassed 112 laps throughout the two days of testing. Action Express also tested through different track conditions as the weather was sunny and warm on Thursday with breezy and overcast conditions moving in on Friday.
Action Express Racing will return to its Denver, North Carolina race shop to continue preparations over the next three weeks with the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring set for Saturday, March 15.
Joao Barbosa, Action Express Racing No. 5 Corvette DP: “It’s been going very good. Our lap times show that we have a strong car. It’s running very well. The first day in the morning we had a small problem but since then we’ve been running consistently and have done a lot of laps. Sebring is a very tough track and so the more laps you can put in with the car, the more things you find that could go wrong. We have a good test program and it’s been going very well.”
Christian Fittipaldi, Action Express Racing No. 5 Corvette DP: “It’s been a positive test. It’s hard for us to judge to see where we are compared to the others exactly. We know we are competitive, but we just don’t know how competitive we are. But all in all it’s been a very positive test. We managed to do a bunch of laps and obtain a lot of data. We thought that the 24 Hours of Daytona was hard, and this race is going to be 10 times harder but we are prepared for it.”
Sebastien Bourdais, Action Express Racing No. 5 Corvette DP: “The car was really good – with the balance and the new aero configuration and everything the car feels really good. We just nailed it and got a really good lap and got it done at the end of that session. It was a lot of fun, you could really push, push, push the car. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going and have another great run here. It just shows that the team prepared the car very well. I think us being here at the November test gave us a little bit of a database to start from. We knew last time that we couldn’t run anywhere near enough downforce because there was no way to rebalance it at the front but now with the DP tools to give some downforce that you can actually balance, the car is quite a bit faster so it’s really good fun. When the car has downforce on it, it’s actually really, really fun. I really enjoyed it.”