Loic Duval looks set to undertake his first full season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with the Frenchman set to step up as a full-time driver in JDC-Miller Motorsports’ Mustang Sampling-backed effort in 2021.
The longtime Audi sports car and DTM ace, who joined the Minnesota-based team for the Michelin Endurance Cup races this year, has been linked to join Tristan Vautier in the No. 5 Cadillac DPi-V.R as part of an all-new full-season lineup.
Duval would replace Sebastien Bourdais, who has already been ruled out of a full-season return to his NTT IndyCar Series commitments, while Vautier joined the Mustang Sampling-sponsored program earlier this year as a mid-season replacement for Joao Barbosa.
When asked about the car’s lineup for next year, team principal John Church told Sportscar365 that it “looks a lot like it does this weekend.”
Vautier, Duval and Bourdais drove the Cadillac to a fifth place finish in Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
“That would be our expected lineup and we’ll try to get Seb to join them on the long races he can do,” Church said. “That’s the plan.”
Duval’s signing would come following Audi’s withdrawal from DTM, where he had been a mainstay in recent years since the end of the German manufacturer’s LMP1 program in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Church said the relationship with Mustang Sampling, which began this year, will continue into 2021.
“We were in a slump for a couple of races that we’d like to get out of but it’s a work in progress,” he said prior to the Sebring finale. “Everything is always a challenge and you have to work your way through it.”
Second DPi Entry “Going to be Tough” for 2021
The chances of JDC-Miller returning as a two-car DPi team, however, appear unlikely according to Church, who has downplayed the prospects of seeing the No. 85 Cadillac on the grid next year.
“I think honestly at this point it’s going to be tough without a big influx of a sponsor,” he said. “We’re trying hard still, it’s just difficult right now.
“[A Michelin Endurance Cup-only program] would be nice but it’s hard to say honestly, it really is. It’s a struggle. It’s so hard to run a customer program.
“We’re always going to keep trying. You just never know where you’re going to end up.”
Church said he’s had “some interest” in customers wanting to run in the new-for-2021 LMP3 class although has “nothing sorted” at this time.
The team, however, plans to return to IMSA Prototype Challenge competition as well as its recently confirmed Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR effort with Mikey Taylor and Chris Miller.
Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report