AXR’s No.48 to return for IMSA DPi endurance program in 2022

Action Express Racing, together with Hendrick Motorsports, will return with the No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R for the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship endurance events.

Jimmie Johnson, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Rockenfeller will all remain with the program for a second season, while Kobayashi’s Toyota WEC teammate Jose Maria Lopez will fill the seat previously occupied by Simon Pagenaud. Ally will continue on as primary sponsor.

“It’s good to have Jimmie back leading the driver lineup in the Ally Cadillac for the four endurance events in 2022,” said Gary Nelson, Action Express Racing team manager. “We have a little more time to get up to speed this time for the Rolex 24 in January. The team showed a lot of promise last year, finishing second at the Rolex and showing strong pace at Sebring. We will be working closely with Rick Hendrick’s group led by Chad Knaus. Jose Maria is new to the car this year. He is a Le Mans 24 winner and WEC champion, and I am sure he will be up to speed very quickly when he steps in the Ally Cadillac.”

Johnson, seven-time NASCAR champion, will make his ninth start in the Rolex 24 Hour. Kobayashi is seeking his third overall win in the Cadillac DPi-V.R, with Rockenfeller, a Le Mans, Rolex 24, Sebring, and Spa 24 winner. New to the Ally Cadillac for 2022 is Lopez who is a teammate of Kobayashi in the WEC series and the 2021 Le Mans 24 overall winner.

Next month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona will mark Johnson’s ninth start at the event.

“I really enjoyed driving with Action Express Racing last season,” Johnson said. “It’s great to have the opportunity to continue in IMSA with Ally, while working alongside Chad (Knaus) and other former HMS (Hendrick Motorsports) teammates. Knowing that we are committed to run all of the endurance races in 2022 allows us to get in some extra testing and to be better prepared. It’s great to have Kamui and Mike back. And Jose Maria, with his experience, is also a great addition to the line-up. 2022 is going to be an exciting year.”

Rockenfeller returns to the team having joined them last year at the Rolex 24, and will run all four endurance events with Johnson and Kobayashi.

“I am super-excited to be back in the Ally Cadillac DPiV.R with Action Express Racing for 2022,” Rockenfeller said. “This will be my main program for 2022, so I am looking forward to doing the big races in America. It is an opportunity I am really looking forward to. After finishing second at Daytona last year, we would like to take that next step on the podium in January. Lopez is very experienced in prototype racing. He just won Le Mans and the WEC Championship, so he brings a lot of experience and speed to the team. I think we have all of the ingredients to have a strong, four-race season in 2022.”

For Kobayashi, it will be his fourth year driving the Cadillac DPi-V.R and the second in the Ally badged DPi-V.R.

“This will be my second year with Jimmie,” Kobayashi said. “We will come into 2022 with the goal of winning races. I know Jose Maria quite well as my teammate in the WEC with Toyota. He will need a little time to get used to the Cadillac DPi-V.R, but he will be a fast edition to the team. Mike knows the car and the tracks in America. It is good he will be with us for the season. We had a lot of lessons to learn in 2021, as a team, which only makes us more confident for 2022.”

Lopez will be running his first Rolex 24, but said he is looking forward to putting his deep prototype experience to work in a new environment.

“My experience in America is not huge,” he said. “I raced my first endurance event back in 2007 in the 12 Hours of Sebring, and from there, I always wanted to come back and race in America again. I love the way racing is, and my teammates Kamui and Mike always tells me how much they enjoy racing in such a competitive category and series like IMSA.”