IMSA • February 10, 2016
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype finished sixth in the 54th annual Rolex 24 at Daytona, after running in the top-3 for the majority of the race.
Dane Cameron opted to qualify the red and white Whelen Corvette DP during a rainy Thursday evening session. Cameron qualified sixth and wasted no time in navigating his way into the top 3 after only a few hours of the Rolex 24 hour race 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 after 9:00 a.m. With cautions being few and far between, the Whelen Engineering team pressed on gaining valuable points towards the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
"It was a really unfortunate way to have our day come unraveled," said Curran. "We were fast all race long in our Whelen Engineering DP. Each one of us continued the charge running in the top three and led some of the race. What a great group of teammates we had with Johnny Adam, Simon Pagenaud and Dane Cameron. We all had good battles up front and overcame a pit lane fire, sliding off in someones oil and the driveline failure. I can say that I really had a blast racing hard with our teammates in the #5 car and the guys in the Visit Florida Corvette. Our whole Whelen team showed how strong we are and I have no doubt we will be fighting for wins and a championship all season long. "
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.
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