Driver Spotlight: Joao Barbosa
Driver, No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP
What does Action Express need to do to wrap up the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship?
“I don’t think we need to change anything. If we are able to do exactly what we’ve been doing now, I think we’re in great shape. A lot can happen and nothing is decided yet but if we approach every race like we’ve approached them to this point, I think we have a great shot. The team has been doing a great job, the car is very reliable, and everything is working very well. If we can win, we’ll definitely go for the win. If we need to start thinking about points at the end of the race then obviously we need to think about that too.”
What do you think we’ll see from BoP at Road Atlanta?
“Road Atlanta is a very demanding track and it’s a long race. Usually the Prototypes have done well in the long races. We have a very strong car, very reliable, that we can race hard for the full 10 hours like Road Atlanta. I think we might not be the fastest car out there on one or two laps but I think we’ll be able to do a great job on the long run to fight for the win. ”
What are some of the challenges that Road Atlanta presents a driver?
“As a track it’s very demanding and very technical. There are a lot of high-speed corners mixed with slow speeds. Also with the long straights that are there, there is a combination of low and high downforce cars that can make it very tricky in the corners or on the straighline so you try to balance both and that’s very tough to do. As a race car driver it’s going to be very hard to manage traffic. We are racing four different classes, two GT classes and two Prototype classes, there are not a lot of places to overtake and it’s not very wide and it’s a long race. At night it’s very hard to judge where the other cars are so it’s a very hard race to do. But obviously, when everything goes well, it’s very rewarding. ”
Sebastian Bourdais will rejoin you at Road Atlanta to vie for the NAEC title. Where does the NAEC championship rank compared to the TUDOR championship?
“It’s a championship within a championship. We definitely want to win the most races that we can and if that means championships, even better. The North American Endurance Championship includes some of the most important races on the schedule and I’ll be thrilled to win that. It’s going to be tough and the points won’t allow any teams or drivers to pull away but I think we have everything in place to finish strong. It all depends, a little bit, on what we need to do to win the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. That will dictate a little bit how we approach the NAEC. ”
You moved from Portugal to America a few years ago, how has the transition been?
“It was challenging in the beginning but it’s been a good transition for the whole family. Everybody has adapted very quickly. Having two small kids made the choice to move a bit more difficult but knowing then what I know now, we could have probably moved before that. The transition went smooth and the kids are adapting well and the whole family loves being here. ”
What are your off-season plans?
“It seems like I had an off season between Road America and COTA, it was a long break. Definitely there is a lot going on. We only have a couple months to prepare for Daytona. January comes very fast and we need to prepare for Daytona which is one of the toughest races in the championship like we did last year. That means testing and training not only for the team, but the drivers as well. We cannot really take a big break. Hopefully planning a trip to New York to be able to pick up the first-place trophy too. We’ll see how it goes, it’s still a little early to be talking about that.”