Joao Barbosa has left the #5 Mustang Sampling team with immediate effect as JDC-Miller MotorSports starts to prepare for a revised driver line-up in the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Barbosa, who won two IMSA Prototype titles and three Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona events with Action Express Racing, this year switched – along with Mustang Sampling – to JDC Miller as AXR cut back to one car.
Barbosa and Bourdais have been very consistent, having scored three podium finishes and two fourth places, and currently lie fifth in the championship, just nine points off the leaders.
However, with three rounds to go – next week’s Petit Le Mans, Laguna Seca, and the Sebring 12 Hours – Tristan Vautier will switch from the #85 car to join Bourdais as the full-timer, while Loic Duval appears to be penciled in as third driver. However, Duval would likely need permission from Audi to race at Petit Le Mans, as it clashes with DTM at Zolder.
“We can’t thank Joao 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.
“Joao 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. 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.”
While Vautier has been the driver of JDC/Miller’s #85 car for most of the season, he joined Barbosa and Bourdais in the #5 for the six-hour race at Road Atlanta, and the trio finished fourth. Duval, too, has already been the ‘third man’ in the #5 Mustang Sampling car, helping Bourdais and Barbosa to clinch third place in the season-opening Rolex 24 Hours.
The Mustang Sampling Racing team will announce their full driver lineup for the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at a later date.
Although Bourdais – who becomes a full-time IndyCar racer again next year with A.J. Foyt Racing – could feasibly remain on JDC Miller’s driver roster in 2021, there are four schedule clashes that would prevent him from racing in IMSA.
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