Action Express Racing - the team which always expects to win
Action Express Racing (also known as AX Racing or AXR) is an American racing team, founded in 2010, which currently competes in the IMSA SportsCar Championship, capturing three consecutive titles in the Prototype class from 2014 to 2016.
AX Racing’s drivers Dane Cameron and Eric Curran are the 2016 IMSA champions, taking a title ahead of teammates Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi. In the previous two seasons, Barbosa and Fittipaldi were the champions.
Action Express Racing was founded in 2010
The team, based in Denver, North Carolina, was founded in 2010 by Bob Johnson and former NASCAR official Gary Nelson. ‘Expect To Win’ became the team’s motto since the first day. The intention was to compete in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series with Riley Mk XI prototype, powered by 5.0-litre V8 Porsche engine. It’s interesting that the engine was not sanctioned by Porsche itself and was build by a third party.
Victorious debut at 2010 Rolex 24 at Daytona
For the opening race of the season, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Ryan Dalziel and Mike Rockenfeller joined the team in the #9 Riley-Porsche. A debut was fantastic, as the #9 crew won the race, crossing the finish line 52 seconds before Chip Ganassi’s #001 Riley-BMW.
Later in the season, J.C.France was a third driver in eight races but the results were far under expectations, with a tenth place as the best result, except in one race. At Lime Rock Park, the #9 car finished fourth. At the end of the season, Barbosa and Borcheller were 13th in the points of Daytona Prototype class.
Two cars and only one win in 2011
Barbosa, Borcheller and France reunited in the 2011 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, again in the #9 Riley-Porsche. For the opening round at Daytona International Speedway, two more drivers joined them – Christian Fittipaldi and Max Papis. They finished in the third place, behind two Chip Ganassi Racing’s prototypes.
The team expanded its operations on the #5 Riley-Porsche prototype. At Daytona, drivers were Darren Law, David Donohue, Buddy Rice and Burt Frisselle. After 24 hours of racing, they finished in the 9th place.
Later in the season, the trio Barbosa/Borcheller/France scored only win, at Virginia International Raceway. At the end of the season, Barbosa and France were fifth in the points.
Switch to the Chevrolet Corvette DP for the 2012 season
In November 2011, Chevrolet unveiled its Corvette-inspired Daytona Prototype and Action Express Racing became one of the teams to switch on that car in the 2012 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.
At the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona, AX Racing’s #5 Chevrolet Corvette DP finished in the fifth place, driven by Darren Law, David Donohue and Christian Fittipaldi. The #9 car, driven by J.C. France, Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller and Max Papis, finished in the ninth place.
Law and Barbosa scored two wins later that season, at Belle Isle and Watkins Glen. In the final drivers’ classification, Darren Law finished in the third place, securing the first podium for the team at the end of the season.
Two wins in the last season of the Rolex Sports Car Series
Two prototypes were again on the grid at the start of the 2013 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. The #9 Chevrolet Corvette DP finished fourth at Daytona 24h, driven by Joao Barbosa, Burt Frisselle and Mike Rockenfeller. The car #5 was four places back. Drivers in that car were Christian Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet Jr, Felipe Nasr and Brian Frissselle.
Barbosa and Fittipaldi were united in the mid-season, scoring two wins (Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen) and two podiums in the #5 car. At the end of the season, Fittipaldi was a fourth-placed driver in the championship, Barbosa finished two places behind.
Two AXR crews in the new championship
In 2014, American Le Mans Series and Rolex Sports Car Series merged into the IMSA Tudor United SportsCar Championship, uniting two American endurance classics (Daytona 24h and Sebring 12h) in the same championship.
Action Express ran the #5 Chevrolet Corvette DP for the full season, with Barbosa and Fittipaldi as drivers. The #9 crew participated only in four races of the North American Endurance Cup, with Brian Frisselle, Burt Frisselle and Jon Fogarty sharing the cockpit.
Two consecutive IMSA titles for Barbosa and Fittipaldi
Barbosa and Fittipaldi opened the season with a triumph at Daytona, together with Sebastien Bourdais as the third driver. With two more wins later in the season, Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi became the IMSA champions for the first time.
Champions defended their title in 2015 IMSA season, winning two classic races – the Sebring 12 hours and Petit Le Mans. Barbosa and Fittipaldi were also the winners of the North American Endurance Cup.
The second AX Racing’s car in the 2015 season was the #31 Chevrolet Corvette, after AXR took over operations of the Whelen Racing, hiring Dane Cameron and Eric Curran as full-time drivers. The #31 was the victorious car at Belle Isle and Road America, securing third place overall for Cameron and Curran in the final standings.
Cameron and Curran continued winning streak
Both crews remained unchanged in 2016 IMSA season, scoring three wins for the Action Express Racing. Curran/Cameron have won at Mosport and Road America, Barbosa/Fittipaldi triumphed at Watkins Glen.
At the end of the season, AX Racing had 1-2 result in the Prototype class standings, with Eric Curran and Dane Cameron taking the title with a 3-point advantage over Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi. The latter two were the North American Endurance Cup winners.
Cadillac prototypes for the 2017 IMSA season
According to new rules, completely new cars are entering the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – Cadillac DPi-V.R prototypes with Cadillac 6.2-litre V8 engines.
Barbosa and Fittipaldi will run the #5 car under the Mustang Sampling Racing banner while defending champions Curran and Cameron will drive #31 Whelen Engineering Racing’s Cadillac.