Photo courtesy of IMSA

Pipo Derani confirmed for Patron ESM return in 2018

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Ending any speculation he might have been on other prototype team’s shopping lists, Tequila Patron ESM announced Tuesday that Brazilian star Pipo Derani will be in one of the team’s Nissan Onroak DPi cars next season. He’s the first of four full-season drivers confirmed; 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 has had a hodgepodge 2017 season where instead of being in one full-time role, he’s been in multiple seats.

He’s driven a handful of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races with Patron ESM in both its Nos. 2 and 22 cars – breaking through to win co-driving with Johannes van Overbeek a little over a week ago at Road America in the No. 22 car. He also ran the opening three races of the FIA World Endurance Championship in one of the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs in the GTE-Pro class, and then did the 6 Hours of Nürburgring with Rebellion Racing in a fill-in role in LMP2. He also made his first Verizon IndyCar Series test with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in March at Sebring.

This solidifies him with the team where he’s made his name on the international sports car scene, having delivered two back-to-back wins at Daytona and Sebring to kick off the 2016 season that established him as a star on the rise.

“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,” Derani said in a release. “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.

“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. I am sure this is just the beginning and I can’t wait for 2018!”

“We are super excited to announce that Pipo will be back for a third year with Tequila Patrón ESM next season,” added 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!”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.