Bad news from Whelen Engineering as regular full-season driver Felipe Nasr is confirmed as having tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and is heading back to Miami to quarantine on the eve of IMSA’s return to racing this weekend at Daytona.
The rapid Brazilian is replaced by Gabby Chaves alongside Pipo Derani aboard the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi for the IMSA WeatherTech 240 at Daytona.
“I’ve been waiting so long for this weekend to get back to racing,” Nasr said. “I felt I had been doing everything correctly. I have been in Miami for about a month, staying away from anyone in racing. Yesterday as I was driving to Daytona, I wasn’t feeling just right. So, before I went to the track or met with my team or anyone in motorsports, I went and got tested and, unfortunately, I tested positive.
“I want to keep everyone on the Whelen Engineering/Action Express team and those around the series safe. I am going back to Miami to quarantine. Hopefully, I will recover quickly, and my doctors can clear me to return to racing soon. For now, I will follow all instructions, guidelines and recommendations from my medical team, my race team, and the IMSA Officials.”
“All of us at Action Express were stunned when we heard that our friend and teammate, Felipe Nasr, has tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday,” Gary Nelson, Action Express Racing, team manager said. “We are certainly going to miss having him competing in our Whelen Cadillac DPi-V.R on Saturday at Daytona. But, more importantly, he is a great friend to us all and we know he will fight hard to beat this virus the same way he fights for trophies on the racetracks. We wish him a speedy recovery. Felipe has not been to the track and will avoid any contact with the public until he has been cleared by his medical team.
“We made the quick decision to bring in Gabby Chaves who is familiar with our team to partner with Pipo Derani this weekend. We will get Felipe ready to hopefully join us again at Sebring in 15 days.”
Gabby Chaves drove for the team in 2018 at Petit Le Mans, finishing eighth.