IMSA • January 31, 2017
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (January 29, 2017) - The showcase of development and testing miles that Cadillac, Dallara, ECR Engines, and Action Express Racing have put in was on full display at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 55th running of the Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona. After starting 2nd, Dane Cameron took his No. 31 Whelen Cadillac DPi-V.R to the lead thirty-one minutes into the race bypassing his teammate in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R. Shortly after, Cameron would make his first pit stop of the night while leading 40-minutes into the race before giving the controls to Sunoco Whelen Challenge Winner, Seb Morris.
Dane was pleased after his opening stint of race, "Not a bad way to start the Rolex 24 for us with the new Cadillac DPi-V.R," Cameron said. "With the one-two start and running in tandem there with Joao. We are just running laps and let things sort themselves out. That is the first full stints of fuel and tires I have ever run in the car. Running behind Joao I was learning from him for further into the race. I was happy to let him set the pace there in the beginning. He got held up in traffic, and I had a clean run, so I went by him there for the lead. It is nice to get some miles in before the possible rain comes. The Whelen Engineering Cadillac is really strong."
Making his first career start in the Daytona Prototype series, Sebastian "Seb" Morris, showed plenty of speed as he continued to lead through his first stint in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac.
"It was nice to lead the race my whole stint, the car was good," Morris said. "We are just going as fast as we can without taking risks. The Whelen Engineering Cadillac is running great. The Cadillac DPi-V.Rs being out front is a testament to all of the miles the teams have put in during development."
Through the first six-hours, the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DP-V.R was seemingly the team to beat as their race was going according to plan. The team felt very confident that without trouble, they would be in prime position to win.
Unfortunately, as Eric Curran was passing a slower car on the banking, unknowingly that car went high and forced us into the wall. The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac team was able to continue on with quick repairs during pit stops but eventually went to the garage to repair the damage on the right front suspension, losing 5 laps.
To make matters worse, the down pour of rain through the evening hours later flooded the electrical system and caused problems with our throttle and shifting.
Mike Conway, endurance driver for the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R commented on the struggles, "It is pretty tough out there right now," Conway said. "The track conditions are changing by the moment every lap right now. One part of the stint you want slicks and then the rain returns and you are glad you are on wets. It was like driving on ice for the first five or six laps. I am happy that I kept it on the road. It is tough we lost those laps. I am going to get a cup of tea."
In the end, the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi, often led in the first third of the race until the aforementioned issues attributed to a sixth-place finish in class, 14th overall.
Eric Curran, full-time co-driver of the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac DPi-V.R gave us his comments on the incident, "It wasn't our day unfortunately, and its too bad because our Whelen Engineering Cadillac was really strong the first half of the race, we led and kept ourselves in the top 3," said Curran. "In the drivers meeting, slower cars were instructed to stay low on the banking, so I was surprised to see a slow car suddenly move high as I was passing, causing damage to the right front suspension damage. Ultimately, the transmission got stuck in third gear and we had an electrical problem, so we lost a number of laps in the garage and took us out of the race. All the No. 31 Whelen Engineering guys displayed that never give up attitude that allowed us to finish. We had the pace to run with anybody, but big picture it's only one race of a long season and fortunately we have a really fast Whelen Cadillac and that's the important thing going into Sebring and the rest of the season is how strong we are. All our co-drivers did a phenomenal job and I'm glad to have that group. We'll get them next time."
Next up for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, held at the historic road course in Central Florida March 15-18.
Copyright Whelen Engineering Co, Inc 2017