RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Tequila Patrón ESM announced Tuesday that Luis Felipe “Pipo” Derani has officially resigned with the prototype team for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
Derani first joined Tequila Patrón ESM for the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona, and was a key member in the team’s overall win with Ed Brown, Scott Sharp, and Johannes van Overbeek. The group repeated that performance at the following round, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida. A late race surge by Derani brought the young Brazilian additional notice, bringing the Tequila Patrón ESM banner again to victory circle.
Most recently Derani celebrated another prototype win with the Tequila Patrón ESM squad, winning Road America’s Road Race Showcase with van Overbeek as his co-driver, breaking Cadillac’s seven-race win streak to start the DPi era.
The win brought Tequila Patrón ESM and Nissan NISMO their first victory of the DPi development program, after a difficult season filled with the usual teething issues a new program brings.
“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,” added 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.”
“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. 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.”
Derani is the first driver announcement of ESM’s 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,” said Derani. “I am sure this is just the beginning and I can’t wait for 2018!”
CREDIT: KBru Communications for Extreme Speed Motorsports