Driver Spotlight: Christian Fittipaldi
Driver: No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP
How has pre-season testing gone, and what are you looking forward to the most in 2016?
“We didn’t really run a lot so far. What we ran in Daytona was good and we’re on the right track with our program. I’m looking forward to trying to repeat what we did in 2015 and 2014, and that’s the challenge ahead of us and I think we’re up for it. That being said, there are a lot of teams that want to take that away from us.”
How important is continuity within a team, especially a successful one as in Action Express?
“It’s everything and I think our results the last three years prove it. We consistently improved each year and it works for everyone. It’s great as a driver to have a stable platform to work on and it’s great for the team because you’re not constantly changing drivers, so that really helps a lot.
“We also have the steady leadership of Gary Nelson as the team manager and Iain Watt as the technical director, that is a huge source of comfort for us as drivers.”
Where do you see the toughest competition coming from in the Prototype class?
“The toughest competition is likely to be in our own house. The No. 31 Whelen Corvette DP is going to be really fast with Dane and Eric, and we’ll be racing them all season for wins and hopefully the championship again. We also know the No’s. 10 and 90 Corvette DPs will be fast with their ECR Engines; both of those teams are quality programs.
“I also think the Mazda program could surprise a lot of people this year. They are coming with a different package and they have the potential to be much faster than they were last year.”
Given the success you and the team have had wth the Corvette DP, is it a bit bitter-sweet knowing this will be the final year with the car?
“In a way yes, but on the other hand, life goes on. We need to progress and it’s very important for the series, particularly after the merger that we make the next step with the cars. The next step is exactly what we are doing. I have to admit though, we had some awesome times with the DPs and we’ve really made great improvements on them.
“ When we came to Daytona the first time with these cars we were lapping in the 1:53:00 range and now we’re in the 1:38:00. They’ve been a lot of fun so we will miss them but the future will be bright for the series.”
Did you have any memorable trips/events during the off-season?
“It’s been an incredibly busy off-season for me. I traveled to Brazil to compete in a mountain bike race, and then traveled back to Detroit for the Chevrolet Champions event for the second consecutive season, which was a tremendous honor for João and myself.
“It’s incredible to be able to spend an entire day with the GM Performance Employees who are largely responsible for Chevrolet’s racing success across the board.
“I competed in the 500 Milhas de Kart in Brazil and my team was fortunate enough to play the perfect strategy and we finished first and second with our karts.
“From there my wife, daughter and myself were able to spend time with our family in Brazil and celebrate Christmas with them so that’s always very special, and it really just hit me there that the off-season is over and in a week we will be back in Daytona.”