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Vautier Moves to JDC-Miller; Barrichello for Rolex 24

Tristan Vautier confirmed for full-season drive with JDC-Miller Motorsports…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Tristan Vautier will make the move to JDC-Miller Motorsports, having been confirmed as a full-season driver alongside Misha Goikhberg in the team’s No. 85 Cadillac DPi-V.R for the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The newly crowned Intercontinental GT Challenge champion had been part of the Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPi operation, which withdrew mid-season due to financial issues.

Vautier returns to the John Church-led team after achieving success with JDC in the junior open-wheel ranks.

“We won the Star Mazda Championship together in 2011, which was a turning point in my career, so being re-united with the team feels pretty special,” said the Frenchman.

“It is funny because for the last four years, every time we would cross paths in the paddock, the two Johns (John Church and John Miller), Matthias and I would always joke about when would we be able to race together again, and now here we are.

“I am impressed with how many steps forward the team has been able to make since their sports car debut in LMPC, and really optimistic about our chances to do well.”

Vautier and Goikhberg will be joined by Formula 1 veteran Rubens Barrichello and GP3 rising star Devlin DeFrancesco for the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, with Indy Lights standout Juan Piedrahita set to be in the No. 85 car for the remaining Michelin Endurance Cup races.

Piedrahita, meanwhile, will be the fourth driver in the No. 84 Cadillac DPi for Daytona, the entry formerly backed by GAINSCO Auto Insurance.

Simon Trummer, who drove alongside Robert Alon in the team’s sister Oreca 07 Gibson entry last season, will pair with the previously announced Stephen Simpson for the full season in the entry, with Chris Miller returning for the Endurance Cup races.

“We are very excited about our driver roster for the Rolex 24 and the whole season,” said Church.

“We’ve been working steadily all fall to put together a stealth group of drivers to compete for race wins in 2019.

“Chris, Misha, Stephen and Simon were very competitive last year. Devlin had two great runs with us in 2018, and Juan and Tristan have raced with us in the past as they developed their driving careers.

“It’s great to welcome all of them back.

“Last, but certainly not least, we’re thrilled to welcome Rubens to the team.

“It’s an honor for us, it’s a great opportunity for our team and we look forward to providing him with a very competitive effort.”

The Minnesota-based team, which took delivery of its first Cadillac DPi last month, is set to complete its first test with the car at Sebring next week.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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