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.”