Two-time IMSA Championship winning driver João Barbosa is to leave Mustang Sampling Racing with immediate effect and will be replaces at the wheel of the #5 Cadillac DPi-V.R by Tristan Vautier for the remaining three races of the 2020 season. Barbosa has been a near ever-present part of the Mustang Sampling effort in IMSA’s WeatherTech Sports Car Championship from its inception in 2015, both when the effort was run by Action Express, and moving over for the current season when the effort transferred to JDC-Miller Motorsports scoring seven race wins, including the 2018 Rolex 24 Hours and taking the Drivers Championship in the first season of the effort.
The 2020 season has yielded no wins thus far for the team with a trio of podium finishes at the first three races of the season the highlight thus far. Vautier moves over form a full-season drive in JDC-Miller’s sister #85 DPi to partner Sebastien Bourdais with Loic Duval set to join the pair for the remaining endurance races at Road Atlanta and Sebring. Vautier joined the #5 crew for the 6 hour Road Atlanta replacement for the cancelled 6 Hours at the Glen.
“We can’t thank João enough for making the move with us to JDC-Miller MotorSports this year as we embarked on the next chapter for Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA’s premier class,” said Ken Thompson, President and CEO of Mustang Sampling. “The impact that João made in helping the team take the first step in a performance increase was immeasurable and for that we are extremely grateful. João has been and continues to be one of the greatest ambassador’s for sports car racing in the United States and globally. As he focuses on the next chapter of his career, Brenda and I wish him the best in all his future endeavors. He’s been with us every step of the way since we joined IMSA in 2015 and been a key to our championships and race wins.”
“When we joined JDC-Miller MotorSports at the beginning of the year, we knew that there would be some areas to grow in our efforts of chasing another IMSA Championship,” said Thompson. “We were thrilled to start the season with three straight podiums but understand there’s still work to be done and the best thing we can do is use the remaining events in the 2020 season to prepare for 2021. Our focus remains on winning the championship and powering our partners at Cadillac to another manufacturers title this season.”
“Racing is constantly evolving,” said driver Sebastien Bourdais. “Despite evolutions, as a driver you approach every race with the singular focus of winning. If you’re focused on winning, pushing the car to it’s limits, everything else will fall into place. I’m looking forward to finishing the year on a strong note and making every effort to get the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R into victory lane.”
The Mustang Sampling Racing team will announce their full driver lineup for the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at a later date