Joao brings the “wow” to Action Express

April 15, 2015

Joao brings the “wow” to Action Express

April 15, 2015

barbosaIt is easy to find Joao Barbosa at most TUDOR United SportsCar Championship events, just look for Barbosa and co-driver Christian Fittipaldi on the podium at the end of the race.

Portugal’s Barbosa and the Brazilian Fittipaldi have been on the point since the debut of the TUDOR Championship in 2014 claiming victory in the inaugural event, the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2014 and wins at Indianapolis and Road America on the way to the 2014 IMSA TUDOR Championship manufacturer, team and driver titles. The team also won the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

Led by team manager Gary Nelson, the Denver, North Carolina-based team has adopted an “Expect to Win” culture that has produced a remarkable consistency.

barbosa2Thorough preparation and sharp race strategies combined with Barbosa and Fittipaldi’s ability to avoid race day troubles have seen the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP roll off a stunning 10,415 consecutive race miles. They have finished on the lead lap at every TUDOR Championship event.

Barbosa, now age 40, and Fittipaldi have wasted no time opening defense of their titles in 2015 with a second place finish in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and a big victory at the recent Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Following the team’s Sebring win, Barbosa said, “We couldn’t have done it without a flawless car. We have covered over 10,000 miles of racing so far. It’s pretty amazing what these guys are doing at the shop to give us this car.”

But, at just 100 minutes, Long Beach is a tight, tricky, concrete lined roll of the dice featuring a straight up manufacturer battle with the defending race champion Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost DP of Scott Pruett and Joey Hand.

In addition, the Long Beach circuit may prove to be especially well suited to Michael Shank Racing’s exciting new Ligier Honda LMP2 with Oswaldo Negri and John Pew aboard.

The steadily improving Mazda Racing prototypes find Jonathan Bomarito teamed with Sylvain Tremblay and Tom Long paired with Joel Miller.

Also looking to claim the Long Beach victory are the Corvette DPs of Wayne Taylor Racing with Jordan and Ricky Taylor and the Racing squad with Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante.

New AX teammates Eric Curran and Dane Cameron have also shown considerable pace in the No. 31 Whelen Chevrolet DP.

Despite the solid competition, Barbosa concedes no ground, “Last year we won the championship and we’re here to prove that we’ll give a hard time to anyone who wants to take that away from us.”

With wins on the biggest and longest circuits in the TUDOR Championship, the next item on their check list is to win in front of their West Coast fans.

None are more prestigious than Long Beach and with Barbosa and Fittipaldi aboard, at Action Express these days, they expect to win.

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