Joao Barbosa will return to IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition in the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase next weekend at Road America.
Barbosa suffered an injury during training in June and was forced to sit out the Watkins Glen and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park race weekends, forcing the two-time series champion to end his run of 120 consecutive race starts.
Christian Fittipaldi was joined in the Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R by IndyCar driver Gabby Chaves at Watkins Glen, with Fittipaldi also standing in for Barbosa at CTMP.
The Portuguese driver has now gained full medical clearance to return to race action and will co-drive with Filipe Albuquerque starting with Sunday’s race.
“All of us here at Action Express are very excited to hear that Joao has been cleared by his doctors,” said team manager Gary Nelson.
“Joao has been with Action Express from the beginning, he is a pillar of our team. He was on the pit box with us for the last two events and that was good, but seeing him behind the wheel again is what we all want.”
The No. 5 entry has a long history of strong outings at the four-mile Road America circuit, including scoring runner up results in 2015 and 2016 as well as a run to victory lane in 2014 with Barbosa and Fittipaldi.
That 2014 win was the first of a three in a row run to the Prototype title, as the duo backed that title up with another IMSA championship in 2015.
“I’m very excited to be back, it has been a long time!” said Barbosa.“I’ve been doing everything I can to be as ready as possible and training as hard as the doctors will let me.
“I was at the shop this week and just working on getting in and out of the car to be sharp for our driver changes. I’m looking forward to getting back and Road America is a great place to do it!”
“I am really happy for João to be back,” said Albuquerque, who took a podium finish in European Le Mans competition last weekend.
“I missed him a lot. It will be great to be back to our normal working routine specially when the championship is so tight.”
Only one point separates the leading No. 31 Action Express Cadillac DPi from the No. 5 entry with three races to go.