Pipo Derani will make the switch to Action Express Racing, having signed with the three-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship-winning team alongside Felipe Nasr for 2019.
The 24-year-old Brazilian replaces Eric Curran as a full-season driver in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering-sponsored Cadillac DPi-V.R, with Curran set to focus on the Michelin Endurance Cup races next year.
Derani won the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Extreme Speed Motorsports, which he has driven for the past two seasons.
“Having raced against the team, I am delighted to join Action Express Racing,” Derani said.
“I have seen first hand how strong this group is. It is a championship-caliber team that consistently delivers.
“My goal is to fight for the IMSA championship, and so this is an amazing opportunity.”
Derani’s arrival will mark an all-Brazilian lineup in the No. 31 Cadillac and all Portuguese-speaking team of full-season drivers between the two-car DPi operation.
Both Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque will return to the No. 5 Mustang Sampling-sponsored entry, with Christian Fittipaldi set for his final outing at Daytona in January.
Derani said he’s looking forward to driving alongside Nasr, who have known each other since their karting days.
“We both were in open wheel and then our careers took different turns so it is a cool story that now we are racing together as teammates,” he said.
“He’s a great driver and I’m looking forward to sharing some new success with him next year.”
Action Express team manager Gary Nelson added: “We will continue to prepare to race for wins, and are fortunate to be working with the strong drivers that we have.
“Building on our relationships with them only adds to our ability to perform, so it is good to have consistency.
“Eric has been an excellent asset and I’m pleased that we are able to continue with him for our endurance program next year, and hopefully the team can have a big result as Christian makes his final run in the 24 with us.”