The No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R run by Action Express Racing, which had such a successful run in the Rolex 24 At Daytona with its star driver lineup – Jimmie Johnson, Simon Pagenaud, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Rockefeller – will return to compete for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Michelin Endurance Cup.
A series within a series, the Endurance Cup features the four longest races on the IMSA schedule – Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
“I had such a great experience at Daytona finishing second in the Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R that I want to continue and run the rest of the IMSA long events,” Johnson said. “The whole experience working with the Action Express Racing team, sharing the Ally Cadillac with Simon, Kamui and Mike just made me want to do more racing in the series.
“Ally was open to the idea, so we are committing to the remaining IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup events,” Johnson explained. “It will be a busy year adding these races to my IndyCar commitments, but I am really looking forward to it.”
Pagenaud, too, is looking forward to more seat time in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac.
“This is exciting news to be part of the Ally Cadillac Action Express effort in the full IMSA Endurance Championship,” Pagenaud said. “It’s so great to be able to continue to perform in sportscars, which is where it all began for me and also prepare myself even better for my IndyCar campaign with Team Penske. Finishing second in Daytona left us with a taste for more. I’m looking forward to being on the grid at Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta for the big ones with Jimmie and Kamui.”
Kobayashi, meanwhile, is excited to learn some new circuits.
“I am excited to keep racing with Jimmie, Simon and the Action Express Racing team,” Kobayashi said. “There will be some new tracks for me, but I think I will be able to learn the new circuits pretty easily. I will be studying these new circuits on the team videos as well as YouTube. I am looking forward to running the AXR Cadillac at these new tracks.
“Of course, I will be motivated to do my best to get up to speed very quickly and work on the set-up of the car.”
Team director Gary Nelson witnessed the passion Johnson has for sports car racing first-hand at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“Everyone involved with the Ally Cadillac program at the Rolex 24 had a great experience,” Nelson said. “I don’t think Jimmie slept. Every time I went to the engineering stand, he was sitting there observing, watching over the shoulders of our technical staff. All of the drivers contributed to a strong second-place finish. At the Rolex 24 we were honored to get support from Chad Knaus and several of the Hendrick Motorsports pit crew members. We are excited that we will be getting that help again for the remaining Endurance events and appreciate the commitment from Rick (Hendrick).”
The team is in full preparation mode now for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, March 17-20.