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Jeff Gordon To Drive Cadillac In Rolex 24

| , RacinToday.com Thursday, December 1 2016
Jeff Gordon will join Wayne Taylor Racing ath Rolex 24 in February. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Christa L Thomas)

Jeff Gordon will join Wayne Taylor Racing at the Rolex 24 in February. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Christa L Thomas)

RacinToday.com

Jeff Gordon is headed back to Daytona International Speedway for yet another post-NASCAR-retirement drive as it was announced Thursday that the four-time Sprint Cup champion will drive in the 2017 Rolex 24 sports car race.

rolex 24 logoGordon will share the drivers seat of the No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R with members of Wayne Taylor Racing.

His co-drivers in the 55th running of the Rolex will be brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor and veteran endurance driver Max Angelelli when race opens the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season on Jan. 28-29.

Gordon, who retired as a full time Cup driver after the 2015 season but filled in for injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. on a spot basis in 2016, said, “When I announced I would no longer be competing full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, my hope was that I would get an opportunity like this to compete again in such a prestigious event. I know that Ricky and Jordan are super-fast, and I believe it will be a very strong combination.”

Gordon’s lone previous Rolex 24 appearance in 2007 came with the same team. He co-drove the No. 10 Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype with Angelelli, Wayne Taylor and Jan Magnussen to a third-place result.

Gordon and WTR will be part of the debut race for the brand-new Cadillac DPi-V.R, which was officially unveiled Wednesday by the manufacturer.

“I think it is exceptional to have Jeff back with us after 10 years,” Angelelli said. “I look forward to

Cadillac Prototypes will compete in the IMSA WeatherTech series in 2017.

Cadillac Prototypes will compete in the IMSA WeatherTech series in 2017.

sharing our new Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R racecar with him, discussing our setup and race strategy. It was great the first time – we might have won that race if some things would have gone our way. Now that it’s happening again, with the new car, it’s going to be absolutely great.”

Ricky and Jordan Taylor, who finished third in the 2016 WeatherTech Championship Prototype standings, are also looking forward to running with Gordon.

“It used to be common to have NASCAR guys joining teams for the Rolex but, over recent years, it’s become less and less frequent,” Jordan Taylor said. “Jeff Gordon is a name that everyone knows worldwide. I can’t wait to compare notes and feedback with such a legend of our sport. It’s going to be an experience of a lifetime.”

“Having Jeff Gordon join the team is really a dream come true for all of us,” added Ricky Taylor. “It is a huge compliment to how well-respected the team has become over the years for someone with the history and career of Jeff Gordon to want to be a part of it. I’m sure he will be a great addition to the lineup and hopefully we can all get our first Rolex 24 win together.”

The No. 10 entry will compete for the overall Rolex 24 race victory in the WeatherTech Championship’s Prototype (P) class. It will be one of three Cadillac DPi-V.R race cars in the field, as three-time defending series champions Action Express Racing confirmed its plans to field a pair of the new race cars earlier Thursday morning.

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Action Express Racing announced Thursday that the team will field a pair of Cadillac DPi-V.R race cars in the Prototype class of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech seriesstarting with the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The team will field two Daytona Prototype DPi entries with Cadillac. For the past five years (2012 to 2016), Action Express utilized Corvette power and the Coyote chassis in the IMSA Prototype class.
“We’re excited about our relationship as a Cadillac partner team and utilizing the Cadillac DPi-V.R in competition during the upcoming season,” said Action Express team manager Gary Nelson.  “We’re also looking forward to working together with our new chassis partner Dallara, as well as continuing our relationship with ECR engines.  Obviously, there’s plenty of work for us to do to prepare for the start of the 2017 season and we’ve been extremely busy getting familiar with our new race cars.”
The team’s championship-winning 2016 driver lineup – featuring Joao Barbosa, Dane Cameron, Eric Curran and Christian Fittipaldi – will return to the team for the upcoming campaign.
“We’re delighted to continue our partnership with Mustang Sampling and Whelen Engineering/Team Fox,” said Action Express team Principal Bob Johnson.  “In 2015, both Mustang Sampling and Whelen joined Action Express as partners with the team.  Together we’ve accomplished much over the past two years and we look forward to continuing that success in the future as a Cadillac partner team and with our returning championship-winning drivers.”
In 2017, Cameron and Curran will share time behind the steering wheel of the No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R, and Barbosa and Fittipaldi will be the drivers of the No. 5 Cadillac DPi-V.R.
“In the past, we’ve had a lot of success with our simple strategy of not changing things unless absolutely necessary,” Nelson explained.  “With IMSA’s introduction of the new Daytona Prototype international (DPi) in the Prototype class, it was necessary for us to make changes for the upcoming season.  While we have a lot to learn, we’re also looking forward to the challenge of developing a reliable and competitive new race car.”
In 2016, co-drivers Cameron and Curran earned the WeatherTech series driver’s championship in the Prototype class in the No. 31 entry, and Barbosa and Fittipaldi guided the No. 5 race car to the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup in the Prototype class.  Fittipaldi also earned the TOTAL Pole Award for most fast qualifying times in the Prototype class.
| , RacinToday.com Thursday, December 1 2016
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