Action Express Racing Defends Tequila Patrón Endurance Cup Title
PR1 /Mathiasen Motorsports, Corvette Racing, ViperExchange.com Win Class Honors
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 8 2015) – Action Express Racing came to Road Atlanta with three goals, including the objective to repeat as winners of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. The team was successful in that pursuit, in addition to winning the Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda and securing its second consecutive TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Prototype title.
The team’s No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP driven by Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais clinched the Prototype (P) class honors in the Patrón Endurance Cup by scoring the five bonus points earned for leading the opening segment of Saturday’s Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda.
With the Patrón Endurance Cup secured, Action Express then met its next two goals – winning the scheduled 10-hour race and the Prototype championship. Barbosa and Bourdais won the Patrón Endurance Cup by eight points over Bourdais (who did not compete at Watkins Glen), 45-37, with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates drivers Scott Pruett and Joey Hand third with 35 points.
The Patrón Endurance Cup encompassed approximately 50 hours of racing, also including the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida and Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
“It was a very different chemistry than last year,” Barbosa said. “Last year we came to Road Atlanta with nothing to gain, everything to lose. This year was intense from the get-go. It was a very tough year, but it ended in the best way. But we always believed we could win both championships, and it ended up very well.”
New champions also were crowned in the remaining classes: PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports in Prototype Challenge (PC); Corvette Racing in GT Le Mans (GTLM); and Riley Motorsports/TI Automotive/ViperExchange.com in GT Daytona (GTD).
The No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R of Al Carter and Cameron Lawrence also clinched in the opening segment to successfully culminate a four-race effort dedicated to winning the Patrón Endurance Cup. Carter and Lawrence won in the GTD class by 10 points over TUDOR Series champions Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler, 45-35.
“Winning the Patrón Endurance Cup in my first year in the TUDOR Championship was huge,” Lawrence said. “It was awesome to be able to race up against the big guys I’ve been looking up to so much for the last few years, and to be successful. This was a real big step in my career, and a really cool experience.”
The PC and GTLM titles were not decided until the checkered flag at Road Atlanta.
GTLM went right down to the wire, with Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the Daytona- and Sebring-winning No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R prevailing by two points over teammates Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in the team’s No. 4 entry, 39-37. Ryan Briscoe, who drove in both cars this year, was tied for second with 37 points. Next, with 33 points, were Petit Le Mans winners Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy, drivers of the Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR.
Mike Guasch, Tom Kimber-Smith and Andrew Palmer added a victory at Petit Le Mans to earlier triumphs at Daytona and Sebring to claim the PC title in the No. 52 Cuttwood/Spyder ORECA FLM09, denying CORE autosport its second consecutive crown. While Jon Bennett and Colin Braun won TUDOR Championship class honors in the No. 54 Flex-Box/Composite Resources entry, they came up nine points shy in the Patrón Endurance Cup standings, 46-37.
Points in the Patrón Endurance Cup were awarded at specific intervals throughout each race, with the leader at the end of each segment scoring five points, four points for second, three points for third, and fourth place on back receiving two points. Points were scored at four hours and the finish at Petit Le Mans, with no points scored at the eight-hour mark due to the race ending early due to weather conditions.
Patrón Endurance Cup round-winning drivers at each event received a limited edition bottle of Gran Patrón Platinum, numbered and signed by Francisco Alcaraz, the creator of the Gran Patrón Platinum recipe and Tequila Patrón’s Master Distiller and Blender. Round-winning team owners won specially designed PRS Guitars.
The Patrón Endurance Cup will return in a similar format in 2016 as part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The competition gets underway with the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 30-31.