Action Express Victorious at 56th Rolex 24

Action Express Cadillac DPi wins 2018 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona
Action Express Racing kept the Cadillac DPi-V.R undefeated at Daytona through two races in the DPi-LMP2 era. | Photo: Richard Dole / IMSA

By dominating the second half of this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, Action Express Racing and the drivers of its No. 5 Cadillac DPi-V.R captured the overall victory.

This triumph in the season-opening IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event marks just the second win for Action Express’ No. 5 Cadillac DPi since the launch of the DPi-LMP2 era with this race last year.

The day-long contest was highlighted by the disappearance of several competitors from the lead group due to mechanical trouble. However, the attrition-filled race was paused only four times by brief full-course caution periods.

The No. 5 Cadillac contributed to this drama by making a quick visit to its garage during the early morning hours for an engine checkup, but the car returned to the track still with the lead.

After bringing the car in for its 36th and final pit stop with 40 minutes to go, Filipe Albuquerque was asked by the team to start turning off the engine at full speed on the NASCAR oval in order to cool the engine.

Cadillac DPi, ORECA LMP2 cars during Rolex 24 at Daytona
Both Action Express Racing cars and CORE autosport’s ORECA 07 were the contenders during the last hour at the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona. | Photo: Scott R LePage / IMSA

The Portuguese pilot played it safe during this closing stage of the race, successfully cooling the engine. Albuquerque was forced to complete an additional lap after taking the white flag with 15 seconds on the clock.

The final lap was a record-setting 808th for the No. 5 car and was carefully completed by Albuquerque who secured Action Express’ third victory in the historic event.

Stuart Middleton brought the No. 31 Action Express car home in second to finalize a 1-2 result for Action Express, finishing more than a minute behind the victorious No. 5. Colin Braun took the checkered flag 21.438 seconds behind Middleton to complete the podium in CORE autosport’s Prototype debut with their new ORECA 07.

Fernando Alonso races 24 Hours of Daytona
The No. 23 Ligier JS P217, co-driven by Fernando Alonso, finished 38th overall, 91 laps down. | Photo: Richard Dole / IMSA

Will Owen and Antonio Felix da Costa comprised the remainder of the top five in Ligier JS P217 and ORECA cars from United Autosports and Jackie Chan DC Racing, respectively.

LMP2 cars filled positions 3–8 before the next-best of the DPi contingent, the Acura ARX-05s, rounded out the top 10 in their long-awaited debut under Team Penske.

The six remaining DPi cars in the field all retired early and are scored dead last among the 50-car field. Spirit of Daytona Racing’s new Cadillac was knocked out with a serious engine misfire while reigning Rolex 24 victors Wayne Taylor Racing retired after several right-rear tire blowouts. Mazda Team Joest and Tequila Patron ESM both had races to forget as well.

The WeatherTech Championship will race next at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on the weekend of March 14–17, 2018.

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