After this trio – along with Mike Rockenfeller – finished second in the season-opening Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, the Ally-sponsored Cadillac DPi-V.R was the subject of some speculation. In the past, AXR has proven well able to run two cars of race-winning potential, but last year entered just the #31 Whelen Engineering machine for Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani.
However, AXR has now confirmed that the #48 will also compete at this month’s 12 Hours of Sebring, the Six Hours of the Glen and Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
“I had such a great experience at the Rolex 24 at Daytona finishing second in the Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R that I want to continue and run the rest of the IMSA long events,” Johnson said. “The whole experience working with the Action Express Racing team, sharing the Ally Cadillac with Simon, Kamui and Mike just made me want to do more racing in the series.
“The Cadillac DPi-V.R is such a great car to drive. I can’t wait to turn some laps at Sebring, The Glen and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
“Ally was open to the idea, so we are committing to the remaining IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup events. It will be a busy year adding these races to my IndyCar commitments, but I am really looking forward to it.”
Pagenaud, the 2016 IndyCar champion and a sportscar ace, said: “It’s so great to be able to continue to perform in sportscars, which is where it all began for me and also prepare myself even better for my IndyCar campaign with Team Penske.
“Finishing second in Daytona left us with a taste for more. I’m looking forward to being on the grid at Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta for the big ones with Jimmie and Kamui.”
Two-time Rolex 24 winner and former Formula 1 driver Kobayashi added: “I am excited to keep racing with Jimmie, Simon and the Action Express Racing team. There will be some new tracks for me, but I think I will be able to learn the new circuits pretty easily. I will be studying these new circuits on the team videos as well as YouTube.”
Team director Gary Nelson revealed: “Everyone involved with the Ally Cadillac program at the Rolex 24 had a great experience. I don’t think Jimmie slept. Every time I went to the engineering stand, he was sitting there observing, watching over the shoulders of our technical staff. All of the drivers contributed to a strong second-place finish.
“At the Rolex 24 we were honored to get support from Chad Knaus and several of the Hendrick Motorsports pit crew members. We are excited that we will be getting that help again for the remaining Endurance events and appreciate the commitment from Rick (Hendrick).”