IMSA’S OTHER CHAMPIONS
FINAL PROTOTYPE POINTS
1st Joao Barbosa/ 309pts
2nd Michael Valiante/ 306
3rd Dane Cameron/ 304
REPEAT OF THE ACTION
Daytona Prototypes dominated, with Action Express edging VFR after a dramatic finale.
The win column in IMSA’s marquee class
had more in common with the old
Grand-Am Rolex Series than anything
expected from a category filled with diverse
chassis and engine combinations. Despite
the array of HPD, Ligier, and Mazda P2
machinery, Daytona Prototypes took all 10
rounds, and did so with complete authority.
P2s, be they gasoline- or diesel-powered,
were swept aside with ease, while the
Delta Wing was no more than a tasty snack
for the Corvette and Ford EcoBoost DPs.
Chip Ganassi Racing opened the year
with a fine win for Ford at Daytona and took
another at COTA, but spent the majority
of 2015 chasing four Corvettes from
Action Express Racing, Visit Florida.com
Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing.
Across the remaining eight races, AXR
(four wins), VFR (two), and WTR (two)
made sure the Bowtie held onto its
Manufacturers’ Championship, and with
VFR’s Richard Westbrook and Michael
Valiante locking into an impressively
consistent stride, it appeared a new
Corvette DP program was on its way to
championship glory. Heading the points
entering the final race, all VFR needed
was a podium to guarantee the title.
But as VFR’s visions of glory pirouetted
through Road Atlanta’s water-logged
grass, AXR’s Joao Barbosa and Christian
Fittipaldi pounced on the opportunity.
“It’s more important to lead the
championship at the end than the
beginning…” notes a smiling Barbosa. “When
we got to Petit, we just needed to be smart
to win, and that’s what we did. We weren’t
always as consistent as we’d like, but we
knew we could defend our championship.
We raced like we could win every time.”
Thanks to two wins and two podiums in
the four Tequila Patron North American
Endurance Cup events, AXR’s No. 5 ’Vette
DP entry also took home the NAEC crown,
along with the Teams’ title and that second
Drivers’ Championship for Barbosa and
Fittipaldi. The incoming No. 31 AXR Corvette
piloted by Dane Cameron and Eric Curran
accounted for two more wins.
Spins by VFR’s Michael Valiante and third
driver Mike Rockenfeller at a soaking Petit
Le Mans finale ended its title chances.
The No. 5 Action
Corvette DP played
catchup in 2015, but
was there at the end.