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, Action Express Racing driver Joao Barbosa looks back on a memorable debut for the team at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2010.
What do you remember about your first race with Action Express Racing, a win at the Rolex 24 at Daytona?
“It was a dream win for sure, one of those wins that you don’t think will happen. It was the start of a new team. Many of the people had transferred from the old Brumos Racing, but everything was very new.
“Nobody really expected big things. We had a different engine that nobody had a lot of faith in. It was a big weekend.
“We really struggled the first few days and in qualifying, and then we did a few changes for the race and everything came to life.
“Nobody believed how good of a car we had in the race. The engine was really good, there were no issues. You always have issues in that race but we only had a few minor things at the end and the team just dealt with it like veterans.
“The drivers had a trouble-free race. We ended up winning quite comfortably, a big lead compared to teams like Ganassi that had a lot of experience. It started year right. It was a very, very memorable win for me in 2010.”
What did you have to overcome to win that race?
I was in at the beginning and the end of the race. I remember the last stint was very stressful because Mike Rockenfeller came out of the car and said the throttle is sticking and to be very careful.
“I had quite a few moments throughout the race but we survived. I heard a lot of weird noises in the car and I was waiting on the throttle to stick. We just had enough of a lead and enough of a good car to bring it home in first place.”
What stands out about your career with AXR subsequent to that win?
“There’s not really been one moment, but I’ve been with Action Express since the beginning. They are family to me. They are the reason I moved to the US as well.
“Just to see how the team has progressed, how the team has grown since the first race to become a championship-winning team, to have had the success we’ve had, it’s amazing.”