Throughout the year, Continental Tire will focus on celebrating the fans, media, drivers, and teams and their contributions to sports car racing, including a weekly trip down memory lane in Sportscar365’s Continental Tire IMSA Reflections series.
This week, Eric Curran reflects on his 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype class championship that he won driving alongside Dane Cameron for Action Express Racing.
What did it take to win the 2016 Prototype class championship?
“The championship in 2016 was amazing. It was quite a year for Dane Cameron and I, and we had Simon Pagenaud over here helping us out.
“It was just a phenomenal season. Going back to 2015 for a moment, it was the first year for Dane and I together in the Action Express Whelen Corvette Daytona Prototype, and boy we almost one the championship in our first year.
“We were so close, within 10 or 15 laps give or take, at Petit Le Mans, and ended up third in our first year.
“Then the next year we had a little bit of a rocky start to the season but the second half of the season was really strong. We won a couple of races and had seven podiums. It was really just a phenomenal season, especially the second half.
“We just kept marching forward and Dane and I were working really well together, plus all the crew, the pit stops, and strategy was good. To take that championship away after Petit Le Mans in 2016 was really special.
“With IMSA being new to taking over the whole series, especially with it being the last year of the Corvette Daytona Prototype, it was a big year for us.
“The Continental Tires were great all year around. We beat up on them all season long and they held in there.
“It was a fun year and it doesn’t get any better than winning a Prototype championship at the top level of sports car racing in the US.
“It was a special year that I’ll never forget as long as I live.”
What was different in 2015 and 2016 from previous years in your career that had you in the mix for the championship?
“I spent years and years in GT cars with Boris Said. I did really well, won some races, but didn’t win a championship.
“Coming into 2015, Dane Cameron and I had raced against each other but never together in the same car and we just gelled right away.
“We got along great and still do get along great even though we aren’t teammates anymore. We like the same setup in the car and the guys with Action Express really had the Corvette Daytona Prototype figured out.
“It really was just a matter of a bunch of new guys coming together and starting to work well together. It was an amazing group of things that came together starting in ’15 and then in ’16 as well, and we came away with a championship.
“We had some of the strongest competition within our own team with Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa. 2016 was top-notch and hopefully I can relive that sometime here soon!”
Which of your five Prototype class wins stands out to you the most?
“I think Detroit was our breakthrough win in 2015. It was coming up on the middle part of the season and Dane and I were really clicking and working well together.
“We won in Chevrolet’s backyard, in the Chevrolet Grand Prix, so that was the first win for us and a special win. It’s hard to forget that one. That was probably top of the list, but Dane and I have a bunch of wins.
“Road America we were strong, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park we won, and those are really cool events. A lot of good races, a lot of good fun.”
What else is on your list to accomplish in your career?
“We have a Prototype championship but what would really be nice is to win at Daytona in the Rolex 24. For whatever reason, I’ve had some tough luck at Daytona over the years.
“It’s a really tough event and it all has to come together with the team and the car and the drivers, it all has to mesh together.
“A Rolex 24 win and a watch would be really special, and the same goes for Sebring I suppose. I haven’t quite won that one yet. But a Daytona 24 win would be really special for me.”