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ESM Retains Derani for 2018

ESM retains Derani for 2018 WeatherTech Championship entry…

Photo: Richard Dole/IMSA

Tequila Patron ESM announced on Tuesday that it has signed Pipo Derani for the full 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

The Brazilian driver is the first to be confirmed in the team’s 2018 entry, with the remaining three full-season drivers expected to be announced in the coming months.

ESM will continue with its two-car Prototype entry next season, again fielding a pair of Nissan Onroak DPis in the top prototype class.

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

Derani was signed to replace Ed Brown in the No. 22 car earlier this season, and along with Johannes van Overbeek, won the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America earlier this month, claiming the car’s first victory.

His confirmation comes amid increased rumors that the rising sports car star had been linked to a possible seat with the Penske Acura DPi program.

“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,” said Derani.

“Having a good car next year will not be enough to win races and the championship but with a strong human relationship I am sure we can fly high.

“That’s why I am delighted to continue working with ESM. We will continue to push the boundaries in what’s left of this year’s championship in order to make sure we are the most prepared team once we hit the track at Daytona.”

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist who is Sportscar365's European Editor and also Managing Editor for e-racing365. He is a student of Politics and International Relations. Contact Jake



  1. JPIZZle

    August 15, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Penski must not have been knocking on his door.

    • David Chaste

      August 15, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      I think they are not yet fully recruiting drivers yet and he didn’t want to say no to ESM and not be picked up by Penske.

      Or ESm simply gave him what anybody else would have gave him

      It would have been nice to see him in a Penske car and maybe that could have provided an avenue to Indycar. His talents deserve to be in a team like Penske. vast resources for vast talents.

      But since Gil DeFerran took Helio apart when they raced together, Helio hasn’t been too nice to other Brazilian drivers. So maybe Roger wanted to keep the coast clear for his favorite driver.

      • Travis McBee

        August 15, 2017 at 12:31 pm

        But aren’t Hellio and TK best buds though? TK is Brazilian as well.

        • David Chaste

          August 15, 2017 at 1:06 pm

          They’ve been fierce competitors over the years. Helio races him harder. Especially when Tk was at Andretti.

  2. Luc

    August 15, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Hopefully JvO will stay as well. In DPi that is.

  3. Travis McBee

    August 15, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Thank God!

  4. Juninho

    August 15, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Nissan GT-R GT3 Nismo in Isma 2018

    • David Chaste

      August 15, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      This ESM program beats that. Racing in the top category and going against Penske and Joest is infinitely more satisfying.

      • Bakkster

        August 15, 2017 at 1:37 pm

        Any GT3 program for them would be for Ed Brown to race against other amateur drivers. Something DPi isn’t well suited for.

  5. Andres

    August 15, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Well, that makes sense, since he is a midpack driver than only can get good results when the car he drives has a BOP advantage and he bumps into the rest of the cars, that is the only thing i had seen from him everytime i had seen him racing

    • Andy Flinn

      August 15, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      Andres, I don’t see you doing any better. Did you not watch Petit Le Mans 2016? ESM struggled during the race.

      • Andres

        August 15, 2017 at 4:02 pm

        Yep, thay struggled, but even they struggled at the end of Watkins Glen last year and he done the worst crappy driving i ever seen, and i only saw him bumping the rest of the cars whenever i saw him race

        • Andy Flinn

          August 15, 2017 at 4:28 pm

          Andres, bumping others… that’s part of racing and you can’t pass cleanly of you’re being blocked at every corner or passing opportunity you get. For ex, Cameron to Pla last year.

        • Andy Flinn

          August 15, 2017 at 4:46 pm

          And that is called commitment, something you probably aren’t familiar with in racing yet, might wanna stay in the PC series to learn about it. Oh and bring your bro Jose with you while you’re at it.

          • Andres

            August 15, 2017 at 6:53 pm

            Emm, no, what I say is, that he passes everyone ramming and bumping them even if is no room for passing, even when he raced for Ganassi in the WEC Ford team, ramming and ramming opponents to pass them even with no space for any move, there are a lot better drivers you can put in that car, like Dominik Farnbacher or Jonathan Bomarito, i think that now are two underrated drivers, but Derani is not a top tier driver at allfor what i had seen to this day

          • andresisatroll

            August 15, 2017 at 8:25 pm

            Andres, you are either trolling or you have no idea what you are talking about.

            Got to be trolling because no one is that stupid.

      • dirk

        August 16, 2017 at 6:47 am

        I have seen Derani a number of times over the last 18 months,(Daytona, Sebring, Road America, etc, ……) and yes he is talented and very fast, my only comment would be that when the car is not a true 100% + he seems to be struggling and makes mistakes, which in view of his age is ‘normal’, …; having said that I rate fe the Farnbacher brothers and Renger Van der Zande just as high as Pipo, and I hope to see them back for a full season in 2018,

    • Steven

      August 15, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      ummm. Derani is one of the fastest young guns in a prototype. I watched him first hand at Road America and he torched the field.

    • David Chaste

      August 16, 2017 at 12:42 am

      Ryan Dalziel is every bit as fast as Derani, and was driving tje same car, but he didnt manage to get past Jordan Taylor at Road America

  6. Steve Heck

    August 15, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Derani slipped through the open wheel cracks. More talented drivers available than quality seats for them. Vautier at Sun Energy for example. Derani signed a 1 year deal. Stay tuned

    • David Chaste

      August 16, 2017 at 1:01 am

      He didn’t stay in open wheel long enough to be assessed. He had 1 year and a half of F3. His only fulltime year he finished 8th. And then he ran star mazda for a quarter of the season and left for sportscars in europe.

      In my opinion his sponsorship was drying out. So he decided at least in sportscar he can race with gentleman drivers that bankrolled the team.

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    September 5, 2017 at 11:32 am

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