THE WHELEN ENGINEERING CHEVROLET CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE FINISHES SIXTH IN THE ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 31, 2016) – The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype finished sixth in the 54th annual Rolex 24 at Daytona, after running in the top-5 for the majority of the race.
Dane Cameron, the winningest driver in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, qualified the red and white Whelen Corvette DP in the sixth position during a rainy Thursday evening session. Cameron wasted no time in navigating his way to the lead in his first stint aboard the Action Express Racing entry.
Just after the three-hour mark, Cameron gave way to the 2016 Sunoco Whelen Challenge champion Jonny Adam. Nicknamed the “Flying Fifer”, the Scotsman turned in a stellar performance in his first race in a Daytona Prototype. Adam’s consistently solid lap times led to the team’s decision to leave him in the car for over three hours on Saturday evening.
“It’s a real honor to be able to compete with Action Express Racing and drive the Whelen Engineering Corvette DP,” said Adam. “I have to thank Anders Hildebrand and Sonny Whelen for making this all possible, it’s certainly an experience I’ll never forget and hopefully it’ll be a spring board to more opportunities.”
The Scotsman showed veteran’s poise, maintaining the lead and turning in an impressive first drive. Aided by full-season driver Eric Curran and IndyCar ace Simon Pagenaud, the Whelen Corvette DP was quickly established as a front-runner in the 24-hour contest.
As darkness crept in over the World Center of Racing, the competition heated up and so did the Whelen drivers. The red and white Corvette DP spent the majority of the night and early morning hours in the top-four, leading on numerous occasions.
However, as morning came so did a drive shaft failure that rendered the car thirteen laps down, shortly after9:00 a.m. With cautions being few and far between, the Whelen Engineering team pressed on gaining valuable points towards the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The drive shaft failure was the first in over a year for the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette DP. The team’s only previous component failure was in the 2014 Rolex 24 in the first hour of the event.
“It was a really unfortunate way to have our day come unraveled,” said Curran. “This Action Express Racing team consistently prepares the most reliable cars in sports car racing. After the power steering issue at Daytona last year, we ran the rest of the season with 100 percent mechanical reliability. I’ve got complete confidence in this group, and I know what we’re capable of after our midseason rally last season.”
At the checkered flag the Whelen Corvette crossed the line in sixth position. The team gained scored 11-points in the North American Endurance Cup, and 25-points towards the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
”We were able to rebound as a team and finish out the event,” said team manager Gary Nelson. “At the end of the day we had a mechanical failure that kept us from running at 100 percent for 24 hours. We’ll learn from that and hopefully we become a stronger team from it.”
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship resumes on March 19th at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring where Action Express Racing was victorious last season; the victory snapped a 50-year winless drought for Chevrolet in the oldest endurance race in North America.