2016 Sebring 12 Hours and Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona winner Pipo Derani has signed a contract to drive with Tequila Patron ESM in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
This comes off the back off ESM’s first victory with its Ligier-based Nissan DPi in the series at Road America, where Derani and teammate Johannes Van Overbeek broke Cadillac’s win streak of seven races from the Daytona 24 Hours onwards.
“We are super excited to announce that Pipo will be back for a third year with Tequila Patrón ESM next season,” said team owner Scott Sharp. “On and off the track, Pipo has been exemplary and become part of the ESM family as he shows his talent again and again! We are working hard on all fronts for our 2018 program and Pipo will spearhead that attack!”
“I am really happy to confirm I will continue to race for Tequila Patrón ESM next season in what I am sure it will be a super competitive IMSA WeatherTech championship,” said Derani. “All of us at Tequila Patron ESM share a big desire to win and this team spirit is the fuel we need to continue to perform at the highest level possible at every track we go.”
2018 will be Derani’s third season with the team. The Brazilian is coming to the end of a full season IMSA campaign this year with ESM after he raced with with it in the FIA WEC and select IMSA rounds in 2016.
“Having a good car next year will not be enough to win races and the championship but with a strong human relationship I am sure we can fly high,” said Derani. That’s why I am delighted to continue working with ESM. We will continue to push the boundaries in what’s left of this year’s championship in order to make sure we are the most prepared team once we hit the track at Daytona.”
The team’s current contract with Nissan NISMO is set to continue through 2018, as a partnership between Tequila Patrón ESM, Nissan NISMO, and Onroak Automotive. Derani is the first driver announcement of the four driver lineup, with the rest expected to be announced in the coming months.
“I would like to thank Scott and Ed for their trust, and the entire team for their tireless job this year in order to bring our Nissan DPi to victory lane after a difficult start to our season,” concluded Derani. “I am sure this is just the beginning and I can’t wait for 2018!