Nasr to miss Daytona race after positive COVID-19 test

Action Express Cadillac driver Felipe Nasr will miss this weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round at Daytona after testing positive for coronavirus.

Ex-Sauber Formula 1 racer Nasr was due to return to action this weekend for the first time since the IMSA season-opening Rolex 24 Hours in January, sharing driving duties in the Whelen Engineering-sponsored #31 AXR Cadillac DPi-V.R with compatriot Pipo Derani.

However, ahead of Friday’s first practice session for the two-hour-40-minute, behind-closed-doors event, the WeatherTech 240, AXR issued a statement revealing Nasr had tested positive for COVID-19 and will therefore return to quarantine in Miami.

Gabby Chaves will therefore replace the Brazilian for this weekend’s Daytona race, while Nasr targets a return at the following Sebring race on July 18.

“I’ve been waiting so long for this weekend to get back to racing,” commented Nasr. “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.”

AXR team manager Gary Nelson added: “We are certainly going to miss having [Nasr] 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.”

Nasr’s replacement Chaves made two appearances for AXR in 2018, racing for the team’s Mustang Sampling-backed entry at Watkins Glen and then joining Nasr and his then-full-season teammate Eric Curran in the Whelen car for the Petit Le Mans season finale.

The Colombian was named as a full-season driver for Bryan Herta Autosport’s campaign in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship-supporting IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge earlier this year, driving one of the team’s Hyundai Veloster N TCRs.

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