Felipe Nasr alleges that the level of sandbagging seen at the Roar Before the Rolex 24, including in Sunday’s Motul Pole Award 100, had been “joke” in the DPi class and wished their rival manufacturers would have shown their hand.
Nasr and co-driver Pipo Derani claimed victory and the pole position for the 59th Rolex 24 at Daytona, taking their No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R to a 3.6-second win over the lone No. 55 Mazda RT-24 P in the 100-minute race.
Cadillacs finished first, third, sixth and seventh in the first-ever qualifying race, which the Brazilian feels did not provide the full picture of their competition in the DPi class.
“I know the other competitors — I’m not going to name them — they aren’t showing their hand,” said Nasr.
“We’re here working flat out to show what we’ve got and they don’t seem to be doing their thing. They can go much quicker than what they’re doing.
“I think all of the Cadillacs put in a great effort all week.
“You could see yesterday in qualifying. Every Cadillac was within a tenth of each other and the other manufacturers, they’re just not doing their thing.
“We’re here to go and race and I expect the maximum out of the car.
“For me it’s a joke that you see drivers have a great Sector 1, a great Sector 2 and then come Sector 3, which is just the Bus Stop, and then be a half-second off…
“C’mon, you’ve got to be kidding me. Just do the damn lap and show what you’ve got. It makes the whole life of the series easier; it makes everybody’s lives easier.”
With potential Balance of Performance adjustments at play ahead of Rolex 24 race week, Nasr has expressed concern that IMSA could slow the Cadillacs, which topped every session during the pre-season test weekend except for qualifying, which it lost due to a technical infringement.
“From my racing experience and since I’ve been with Action Express Racing, every time we hit the track, we show what we got,” Nasr said. “That makes everybody’s lives easier to analyze that.
“I’ve seen [sandbagging] all weekend and today again in the race.”
Nasr’s co-driver Derani echoed his countryman’s sentiments.
“The whole reason for the format — which I love — is to give an incentive to all of the teams to push considering there’s points available for this qualifying,” he said.
“That’s the whole reason for doing this qualifying race.
“Unfortunately the incentive wasn’t big enough for some of the other teams to come and show their hand, which is a shame.
“On our side, a race win is a race win, whether it’s 35 points or 350 points. That’s how we go racing. We always try our best to win every single race and that’s no different than what we did today.
“We are being crystal clear with what we have and trying to be very honest and expecting that honesty will pay off with a fair balance for a very important race.
“We wouldn’t like to see otherwise, or being penalized for being honest. That’s why we always go for the race win and for the maximum we have.”