Adam races at Rolex 24

31st January 2016. Daytona

There was a damp start to the Rolex 24 At Daytona race week, not what you would expect in Florida. Wednesday and Thursday at the track proved very wet, with more rain arriving in time for the qualifying sessions. Despite this, the Action Express run Whelen Motorsports no. 31 DP car qualified in P6 with Dane Cameron at the wheel.

31-04_-_Copy.jpgWith the final practice session on Friday morning, there was opportunity for the teams to do any last minute prep, but the Action Express team were already well-prepared. Then race day was upon us! Saturday morning started sunny and bright, perfect conditions. As usual at the Rolex 24, midday saw the start of the race ceremonies, with a signing session where all of the drivers in the Rolex 24 sit behind their respective garages and the fans all get their chance to meet their favourite racers.

Then it was time for the cars to be wheeled towards the grid; with the DP class announced last, they are pushed past the fans (who also get the chance to walk on the grid), with drivers introduced to the swarming crowd. After this, there is just a short opportunity for fans to get pictures with the car and drivers before the grid is cleared ahead of the race.



31-01.jpgJust before 2:45pm (ET) Grand Marshal Tom Kristensen uttered those famous words…” Drivers, start your engines”, and the grid roared into life, only to be silenced in 24 hours’ time to mark the end of the race. Dane Cameron was first up in the Action Express run Whelen Motorsports no. 31 DP car. Just two warm-up laps for the grid, then the green flag flew to mark the start of the 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Dane’s first stint, with a quadruple session, was over 3 hours long. During this time he kept the car at pace, with the Action Express using a pit stop strategy to make best of the time. He was leading the race when he brought the car into the pits for driver change, then it was time for Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner Jonny Adam to take his debut drive in the DP car the Rolex 24 At Daytona. During Jonny Adam's quadruple stint, he got his personal best time of the race at 1:40.571, also setting the fastest lap of the race at that time. After just over 3 hours (9:20pm ET), Jonny was out of the car to hand the wheel over to Eric Curran.

31-32.jpgIn the early hours of the morning Simon Pagenaud was next in the car, as the last of the quartet to take his stint. At around 2:40AM (ET) Pagenaud then set the fastest lap time so far. Next up, Dane Cameron was back in, however, at some point during his stint he came in to refuel, and a small fire occurred. This was swiftly put out by the team who remained calm but proactive, but they were unsure how much fuel had been put in, so the car had to re-pit again sooner than expected. This incident put them back to P6, and a lap behind the race leader.

At around 6am (ET) Jonny Adam was back behind the wheel of the No. 31 Action Express run Whelen Engineering DP car. Getting into the car in P6, it was still apparent that the talented Scot was well-worthy of the prize drive at the Rolex 24 At Daytona as he continued to keep up with the race-pace. The team was strategising effectively to get the No.31 back up in the standings, and went on to fully utilise the yellow flag caution session. Eventually Jonny brought the car back into P4, and back onto the lead lap. Shortly after this though, around 2 hours into his stint, the team witnessed smoke coming from the #31, so Jonny brought the car into the garage. A rear axle assembly had failed, so it needed to be replaced. This was done quickly by the team, and the car got back out on track. Unfortunately, they lost 13 laps at this point, and dropped down to 14th place, a major disappointment for the team as it ruined their dream of a podium finish.

Despite this, the team continued their hard work, now with Eric Curran in the driving seat. He then handed the car over to Simon Pagenaud, who then gave the car over to Dane Cameron for the final stint over the twice around the clock race. Together, the team pulled through the remaining hours of the race and finished 6th overall, but 12 laps behind the leader, near enough the same amount of laps they lost when they No. 31 pulled into the garages for the repair. Despite this there was a great effort from the whole team, and the driver line-up was flawless.

Adam-05.jpgJonny Adam said this about the whole experience of winning the Sunoco Whelen Challenge; "What an experience Daytona was! Action Express Racing did an amazing job throughout the weekend. We ran right at the front, and at one point were leading the Rolex 24. I loved every moment of my driving stints in the car, and was very happy with the pace compared to drivers of world class. We lost a lap because of a flash fire in pit lane, then pull it back to get back up to the lead pack in 4th. Then unfortunately we had a drive shaft issue. The guys turned the car around quickly and we finished 6th. My teammates Dane, Eric and Simon were awesome the whole race and the team effort a cross both cars was impressive. We thought a podium was in sight but luck just wasn't on our side. Massive thanks to the team, Whelen, and Anders at Sunoco."

2016 Sunoco Whelen Challenge winner Jonny Adam proved that yet again the year long Sunoco challenge programme brings some fantastic driving talent to the USA. Adam’s well-earned prize drive in the Rolex 24 At Daytona was in the Action Express run No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette Daytona Prototype. During both of his driving stints, during the twice around the clock endurance race, the speedy Scot kept the car on pace and even managed to run as high as 2nd. We are proud to have worked with Jonny Adam, the Action Express team and top-notch driver line-up and hope the Sunoco Whelen Challenge programme continues to bring such talent to American Soil!

The Challenge continues for the 2016 season – keep tuned for news…


Action Express run Whelen Motorsports no. 31 DP car position each hour:

Hour 1: P3 Cameron

Hour 2: P3 Cameron

Hour 3: P1 Cameron

Hour 4: P3 Adam

Hour 5: P2 Adam

Hour 6: P2 Adam

Hour 7: P6 Curran

Hour 8: P6 Curran

Hour 9: P2 Curran

Hour 10: P4 Pagenaud

Hour 11: P3 Pagenaud

Hour 12: P3 Pagenaud

Hour 13: P1 Cameron

Hour 14: P2 Cameron

Hour 15: P6 Cameron

Hour 16: P6 Adam

Hour 17: P6 Adam

Hour 18: P4 Adam

Hour 19: P12 Curran

Hour 20: P12 Curran

Hour 21: P11 Curran

Hour 22: P6 Pagenaud

Hour 23: P6 Cameron

Hour 24: P6 Cameron

For media enquiries please contact: Hannah Ford - Marketing & PR

Email: hannah@aaoil.co.uk Mobile: +44 (0)7872 411600 Tel: +44 (0)1929 555974

Website: www.sunocochallenge.com - www.aaoil.co.uk

Twitter:@sunoco_uk Facebook: www.facebook.com/sunocouk 

The 2016 Sunoco Whelen Challenge is provided in partnership with Whelen Engineering in the USA and Anglo American Oil Company Ltd in the UK. Drivers from selected Sunoco-fuelled championships competed against each other throughout the season with a chance to win a fully paid-for race seat in the Action Express Racing-run Whelen-sponsored Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January 2016. The eligible championships for the 2015 race season were: British GT3, Radical Enduro Championship, Radical European Masters and Britcar Endurance (Classes 1 only) - it is only drivers these series which are likely to be a able to handle a Daytona Prototype at plus 190mph on the famed 31° Daytona banking.  

The 2016 Sunoco 200 Challenge provided a winner, from additional Sunoco fuelled Championships with a race seat in the Sunoco liveried Chevrolet Camaro during the 200-mile endurance race on the Friday before the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The eligible series for the 2015 race season were: British GT4, Atom Cup, F3 Cup, GT Cup, Radical Sprint Championship (formally Clubman's Cup), Britcar Sports & Touring Car, Britcar Endurance (Classes 2,3,4), Britcar Trophy Series and MINI Challenge.