With a focus towards the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, Mustang Sampling Racing and two-time IMSA Champion driver João Barbosa have agreed to mutually part ways ahead of the remaining three races of the season. Tristan Vautier will assume full-time drive duties of the No. 5 Cadillac DPi-V.R alongside Sebastien Bourdais as the team closes out the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
“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.”
Vautier has spent the majority of the season in the No. 85 Cadillac DPi-V.R for JDC-Miller MotorSports but recently competed at Road Atlanta with Bourdais and Barbosa as co-driver for the six-hour endurance event.
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R opened the 2020 season posting three consecutive podium finishes, including 126 laps led in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The team has posted a pair of fourth place results and most recently a sixth-place finish at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
“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.”
With two of the three remaining events being endurance events of 10-hours and 12-hours, the team is in a unique position to prepare to open the 2021 campaign. Each season, IMSA teams face the daunting task of 36-hours of racing between the season opening Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Despite focusing on strengthening the team’s effort for 2021, expect Bourdais, Vautier and Duval to remain on full-attack mode through the remaining events.
“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.
Source. Mustang Sampling Racing