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!”