SEBRING, Fla. (March 22, 2015) – Fifty years after the Chaparral 2 claimed Chevrolet’s lone victory in the Mobil1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Action Express Racing delivered a victory in dominating fashion to snap the half century dry spell and quench it with the ceremonial champagne in front of 100,000 fans.
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling team displayed one of the most convincing performances in the 63 year history of the twelve hour endurance race, leading 246 of 340 circuits enroute to lapping the field and adding another 1,271 miles to their now 10,415 consecutive mile streak, dating back to the inaugural IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Event.
“I am extremely excited,” said driver Christian Fittipaldi. “Our team executed flawlessly today, and lived up to the high standard that they set. Everyone on the team is responsible for this victory, but Action Express Racing couldn’t have done it alone. We have to thank our partners at Chevrolet, ECR (Earnhardt Childress Racing), EMCO Gears, Continental Tires, Penske Shocks and every supplier who has delivered us reliable parts for over a year. It was also great to get Mustang Sampling on the top step of the podium in our second race of many to come with them, we are excited to have them on board with us this year and couldn’t do this without their support.”
For João Barbosa, winning the Twelve Hours of Sebring adding a check mark next to one of the elusive sports car majors.
“It is certainly a relief and a great feeling to finally get to check this one off the list,” said Barbosa. “I’ve wanted this one for a long time and to get the win with Action Express Racing is phenomenal. This certainly ranks up there with winning the Rolex 24 and the full magnitude hasn’t even set in yet.”
Echoing Barbosa’s sentiment was teammate Sébastien Bourdais who’s had his close calls with overall victory in the twelve hours, only to come up a bit short at the end of the day.
“I’ve been close several times,” said Bourdais. “I’m glad to finally get the win and to do it with João and Christian is very special. They drove flawlessly and the team executed at the highest level possible today. To lead the final 149 laps is something that doesn’t happen often, especially at Sebring with the number of competitive teams, so Action Express Racing has a lot to be proud of.”
Team owner Bob Johnson was all smiles in Victory Lane after the race, acknowledging the magnitude of the accomplishment.
“This is one of the biggest races in the world,” said Johnson. “Anyone in racing knows the significance of the Twelve Hours of Sebring, and in sports car racing, it’s the equivalent of winning the U.S. Open in golf. As an owner, I’ve been fortunate to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona twice, but this ranks right among those two wins in terms of its significance.
“Winning at Sebring was also special because we were able to take Ken and Brenda Thompson of Mustang Sampling to Victory Lane for what we hope will be the first of many times this season.”
While the Mustang Sampling Corvette wasn’t the fastest car in every session of the weekend, the team delivered the speed and performance when it counted, leading 72.4% of the laps, including the last 43.8% of the race.
The win was the first for Chevrolet at Sebring in fifty years and it was also another major first for Barbosa of Portugal and Fittipaldi of Brazil. Both became the first of their respective countries to win overall in the Twelve Hours of Sebring.
In addition to taking over the points lead in the IMSA Tudor United SportsCar Championship standings, the Mustang Sampling Corvette amassed 14 points over three segments to take the lead in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, leading Wayne Taylor Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing 27-21.
The win is the tenth victory for Action Express Racing since 2010 and the fourth in the TUDOR Championship era.
Action Express Racing