Action Express Racing has announced its driver line-up for the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, and it sees a slight adaptation to its current line-up with the acquisition of Luis Felipe Derani.
The #31 Whelen Engineering Racing entry will see Derani partner with fellow Brazilian Felipe Nasr, with their current driver in that seat, Eric Curran, reducing his duties with AXR as he will run only in the four Michelin Endurance Cup events, starting with the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.
Derani, who currently races for the rival Prototype-class outfit Tequila Patron ESM, is excited by the new challenge, and is looking forward to partnering with former Formula 1 racer Nasr and sharing success with his countryman.
“Having raced against the team, I am delighted to join Action Express Racing!” said Derani. “I have seen first hand how strong this group is. It is a championship-caliber team that consistently delivers. My goal is to fight for the IMSA championship, and so this is an amazing opportunity.
“We have known each other since karting in Brazil, so have followed each other for many years. We both were in open wheel and then our careers took different turns so it is a cool story that now we are racing together as teammates.
“He’s a great driver and I’m looking forward to sharing some new success with him next year!”
The #5 Mustang Sampling Racing will feature Portuguese duo Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque, while Christian Fittipaldi will be the third driver for the Rolex 24 at Daytona before he retires. The third driver for the remaining three endurance races – Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Motul Petit Le Mans – has yet to be confirmed.
Action Express Racing Team Manager Gary Nelson is excited by what could be next season with the announced line-up, and he hopes to bring home more wins and fight for the championship.
“We are excited to have Pipo joining us next season as he’s tremendously capable and are looking forward to him being a part of our program,” said Nelson. “We will continue to prepare to race for wins, and are fortunate to be working with the strong drivers that we have.
“Building on our relationships with them only adds to our ability to perform, so it is good to have consistency. Eric (Curran) has been an excellent asset and I’m pleased that we are able to continue with him for our endurance program next year, and hopefully the team can have a big result as Christian (Fittipaldi) makes his final run in the 24 with us.”