Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson made his return to prototype driving when he tested the Action Express Racing-run No. 48 Cadillac DPi-V.R at Daytona earlier in December in preparation for the Rolex 24 Hour race in January. This was the first public view of the car in the purple, pink and white livery of Johnson’s sponsor, Ally Bank. The color scheme is the same as the one used on Johnson’s NASCAR Chevrolet Camaro, also sponsored by Ally, though the pattern is different. Both cars also have the same racing number.
Johnson has competed in the Rolex 24 Hour event on seven previous occasions, but always at the wheel of Grand-Am Daytona Prototype machinery. By comparison. the LMP2-based cars in the Daytona Prototype International (DPi) category have significantly more power, aerodynamic downforce and grip.
“The car has evolved I think two generations since my last race in the Rolex 24,” said Johnson. “And I think we’re eight to ten seconds faster with this DPi configuration than what I did in the Grand-Am car. So very fun car to drive, lots of downforce, lots of speed. The Action Express guys have the car running really nice.”
Johnson was joined in the test session by co-drivers Mike Rockenfeller and Simon Pagenaud. The fourth member of the team, Kamui Kobayashi, was not present for the test session, but since he co-drove the winning Cadillac DPi-V.R in the 2019 and 2020 Rolex 24 Hour events it’s unlikely that his absence will have upset anyone.
The car will next appear at Daytona for the Road Before The 24, which takes place from Friday January 22nd to Sunday January 24th. The Rolex 24 Hour race itself, opening round of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, will start at 3:40 pm ET on Saturday January 30th.
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