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IMSA Detroit

Pla replaces Nunez in AXR line-up for remainder of 2022

Olivier Pla is returning to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to replace Tristan Nunez alongside Pipo Derani in Action Express Racing’s Cadillac DPi-V.R.

 #708 Glickenhaus Racing Glickenhaus 007 LMH LMP1 : Olivier Pla

The Whelen Engineering-backed car had been driven by Nunez and Derani from the start of the year but the pair currently lie only fifth in the DPi class championship with no finish higher than third. After being let go by Mazda at the end of 2020 when the team reduced from two cars to one, Nunez spent the 2021 IMSA season in the WIN Autosport LMP2 car, winning at Watkins Glen, and was then signed by AXR to partner Derani.

AXR’s statement says that Nunez will remain on the team as standby driver.

For Pla, this will be a chance for redemption after he was released early from his contract with Meyer Shank Racing last year and so didn’t race for the squad at Petit Le Mans. The 40-year-old Frenchman has since been continuing his racing duties with Glickenhaus in the World Endurance Championship.

Pla who tested the AXR Cadillac at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta last week, said: “Joining Action Express Racing is very special to me. I’ve been racing against them for many years, and I know how good they are on the track. What they’ve achieved by winning so many races and championships speaks for itself.

“It will be a big challenge to arrive mid-season but I’m ready to take on this challenge. The Cadillac DPi-V.R is a fantastic car and I can’t wait to race it. 

“And of course, extremely happy and proud to join such a great driver and friend as Pipo Derani!"

Gary Nelson, team director, said: “We are happy to have Olivier join the AXR team starting with the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix this weekend. The IMSA DPi class is very competitive this year and we want to make sure we can have a strong second half to the season.

“Tristan has done a great job driving the Whelen Engineering Cadillac. All of us at Action Express Racing have developed a great relationship with Tristan and his family. He is a young driver with many wins and championships in his future. Tristan remains a major part of this team, and we value having his input on the race weekends to keep moving our program forward.”

 

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

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