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Barrichello To Do Rolex

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, December 11 2018
Rubens Barrichello will drive in the Rolex 24 in 2019.

By John Sturbin/Senior Writer

Formula One veteran Rubens Barrichello has joined JDC-Miller MotorSports’ revised and renumbered two-car lineup for the 57th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, 2019 season-opener for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The twice-around-the clock endurance classic is scheduled for Jan. 26-27 on Daytona International Speedway’s 3.56-mile “roval” incorporating portions of the high-banked, 2.5-mile NASCAR oval.

JDC-Miller MotorSports, which finished fourth in the final 2018 point standings, will field the No. 84 and No. 85 Cadillac DPi-V.R. Prototypes for the full 2019 schedule after competing last season with the No. 85 and No. 99 Gibson-powered ORECA 07 LMP2 entries.

Meanwhile, Dallas-based GAINSCO Auto Insurance has confirmed that Bob Stallings Racing’s No. 99 “Red Dragon” _ winner of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International _ will not partner with JDC-Miller this season.

”Since 2005, there has been a race car featuring the red livery and No. 99 of GAINSCO Auto Insurance competing for race wins and championships,” said Andy Jordan, GAINSCO’s senior vice president, marketing and business development. “GAINSCO Auto Insurance has decided not to continue its motorsports program for the 2019 season.

“Most of our 14 years was spent campaigning in the Prototype class of our country’s finest sports car series, the IMSA WeatherTech Championship. We were incredibly fortunate to have been able to spend the 2018 season with JDC-Miller MotorSports and celebrate one final return to the Prototype ranks with a fantastic team. Stephen Simpson, Misha Goikhberg and Chris Miller will go down in history as the final drivers to pilot a No. 99 to a race win with their triumph at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. We could not have asked for a better partnership, nor better representation by a team than we were in 2018.”

Simpson and Simon Trummer will co-drive the No. 84 Cadillac DPi-V.R., with 2018 IMSA race-winner Miller returning for all endurance events in 2019. Indy Lights standout Juan Piedrahita will complete the lineup for the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Tristan Vautier returns to JDC-Miller MotorSports fulltime in 2019 to race alongside 2018 Sahlen’s Six Hour winner Goikhberg in the No. 85 Cadillac. Retired F1 star Barrichello will join Vautier and Goikhberg at Daytona while GP3 contender Devlin DeFrancesco returns to JDC-Miller after two strong performances with the team in 2018 to complete the Rolex 24 entry for the No. 85. Piedrahita will join the No. 85 car for the remaining endurance races at Sebring International Raceway, Watkins Glen and Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta.

“We are very excited about our driver roster for the Rolex 24 and the whole season,” team-owner John Miller said in a statement. “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.

“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.”

Barrichello will make his fifth start in North America’s premier endurance event. The native Brazilian last competed at the Rolex 24 in 2016 driving a Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype for Wayne Taylor Racing. “I can’t wait! I love this race and I’m very happy to return,” Barrichello said. “I know the team had a good event last year with a sixth-place finish. I’m excited to work hard for a great finish and have an enjoyable weekend and give the fans a great race.”

The International cast of drivers at JDC-Miller includes natives of eight countries: Brazil (Barichello), Canada (DeFrancesco), Columbia (Piedrahita), France (Vautier), South Africa (Simpson), Switzerland (Trummer), Russia (Goikhberg) and the United States (Miller).  The lineup features experience and race wins from Formula One, INDYCAR, IMSA, stock car and World Endurance Challenge.

“I want to credit John Church for putting such a strong driver lineup together across both the No. 84 and No. 85 cars,” Simpson said of the team’s managing partner. “John runs a fantastic operation which is continuing to go from strength-to-strength with the goal of becoming championship-winning material.”  

JDC-Miller announced its impending partnership with Cadillac in August, shortly after IMSA’s decision to separate DPi and LMP2 into separate classes in 2019. JDC-Miller’s association with Cadillac ensures that the team will be competing for overall wins and championships.

“When we first started our IMSA WeatherTech program in 2014 we knew our goal was to work with a brand like Cadillac,” Church said. “We feel strongly that we have found the best partner and look forward to adding to the success Cadillac has already enjoyed in IMSA.”

The team took delivery of its first Cadillac DPi-V.R one month ago and is set to complete its first test at Sebring. “I’m looking forward to taking what we learned competing alongside the DPi’s the past two seasons and actually applying it in our own Cadillac DPi-V.R,” Goikhberg said. “I think this year the DPi field will be even more competitive than before, and I cherish that level of competition.”

In addition to JDC-Miller’s move to Cadillac, all Prototypes will switch to Michelin tires from Continental rubber in 2019. “Racing the Cadillac DPi is something I’m very proud of,” Simpson said. “I’m very much looking forward to being part of the GM family and hopefully adding to their win tally.

“Michelin makes fantastic tires; I have no doubt lap records will be broken during the season as the tire is quicker than what we have previously used. The tire also feels different and certain setup changes that worked on the other tire might not necessarily work on the Michelins, so it will be a good challenge figuring them out and making the most of them.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, December 11 2018
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