The new decade brings a change of scenery for Joao Barbosa, with the move to JDC-Miller Motorsport after nine successful years at Action Express. The Portuguese driver won three Rolex 24’s along with two IMSA titles during his tenure with the team, but the loss of sponsor Mustang Sampling prompted this move.
He is reunited with Mustang Sampling at JDC-Miller, with Sebastien Bourdais signed as his team mate. Barbosa has solidified himself as top line driver in IMSA, and his experience will massively help the JDC-Miller team. Audi DTM racer Loic Duval joins them for the Rolex. With the race only a matter of days away, I quickly spoke with Joao to get his thoughts on the upcoming event.
What has the winter been like adjusting to a new team at JDC-Miller?
It’s been a busy off season for me. To make the switch from AXR to JDC took a lot of effort from everyone to make it happen. But Mustang Sampling, Cadillac, me and everyone involved really thought this could be the start of something really good.
How tough was it to leave Action Express after enjoying so many successful years there?
We were very successful together! I have a lot to thank for the opportunity to work with such great people at AXR and learned a lot. But life moves on and I’m very excited about this new challenge.
What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of the Cadillac at Daytona?
The competition is very strong. I don’t think we have any advantage at this point. We are lacking top speed compared to our main competitors. But the Cadillac has proven to be very reliable and strong for a 24h race.
How was the Roar test for the #5 team?
The Roar was very good. It’s the first time I got to work with JDC on track. We know that there is still a lot of work to do but, we worked well together. We were competitive , on pace, compared to the other Cadillac’s. And that’s our first goal.
Who are your main rivals at the Rolex 24 this year?
Obviously Mazda and Acura have showed that they are very quick. They will be the cars to beat.
What’s it like working with Sebastien? Do you have a good working relationship?
It’s great to work with Sebastian again, now for a full season. He’s very quick and a great guy. We got along really well and his experience is always very valuable. Coming from Indy car it will take him a little bit of time to adapt to the Cadillac and the IMSA rules, but he will be up to speed very quickly.
And finally, what are yours and the teams goals for the season?
Our goal is to improve in every race and be competitive among the Cadillac’s. Would be great if we can get a couple of podiums this year!
I would like to thank Joao for taking the time to answer these questions, and wish him and the team the best of luck for the 2020 season! Follow me on Twitter @JWjournalism if you liked this article!