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Curran to Step Away From Whelen Cadillac DPi

Eric Curran rules himself out of drive for Rolex 24 at Daytona, focusing on other projects…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Eric Curran will not take part in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona in Whelen Engineering Racing’s Cadillac DPi-V.R, having ruled himself out of DPi competition in order to focus on other racing plans, on and off the track.

The two-time IMSA Prototype champion had a reduced Michelin Endurance Cup program in the No. 31 Action Express Racing-run entry this year and had initially expressed interest to Sportscar365 of being part of the team’s lineup for the 2020 season-opener as a fourth driver.

Filipe Albuquerque had been announced as Curran’s replacement as the Endurance Cup driver following the team’s downsizing to one car with Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr returning as full-season drivers.

Curran, 44, said the decision was largely due to the “big challenge” of jumping in a DPi for a one-off race.

“It’s the same thing Christian [Fittipaldi] experienced,” Curran said, recalling his former teammate who retired following the 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“It is a big challenge to just jump into one of these DPis after being out of the car for a few months and be exactly where you were when you got out a couple of months before.

“I felt comfortable, but it was still a big challenge to take on. And part of that is the fact that IMSA is so incredibly competitive.

“If you want to be successful, everything on the team has to be operating at 100 percent— from the driver to the pit stops to the strategy.”

Curran will remain as an ambassador to Whelen Engineering, while also working on multiple other projects, including being the test driver for Saleen with its new GT4 car as well as running the West Coast Exotic Cars dealership and working to bring a new race track to the Southern California market.

“I think this is the right time to say ‘thank you,’ to Action Express,” he said. “My schedule isn’t getting any slower. I am going to keep working on some of these other projects and be rooting for the team instead of racing with them.

“Winning the IMSA championship last year, then being on the Daytona podium for the second year in a row, and finally closing the year by getting a sixth consecutive Michelin Cup with Action Express and winning in my last race in the car, this has been a really fantastic run.

“Sonny [Whelen] and I have had an amazing run together in the racing world winning 17 professional races and two championships.

“I can’t thank Sonny and Whelen Engineering enough for their support and I’m excited to move into other roles within the company.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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