Story By: MATT CLEARY / MUSTANG SAMPLING RACING – DENVER, NC – Galp, an integrated energy company based in Lisbon, Portugal, will partner with Mustang Sampling Racing as a key component to Galp’s marketing activation in North America. GALP will sponsor the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac Dpi-V.R in the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Mustang Sampling Racing is targeting a run for the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech championship, having secured the driver and team titles in 2014 and 2015, as well as the Michelin Endurance Cup in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. Joao Barbosa, Filipe Albuquerque, Christian Fittipaldi, and Mike Conway will share the driving duties in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.
Providing energy to consumers for more than 150 years, Galp is present in 11 countries with extensive operations in the exploration, production, refining and marketing of oil and natural gas, as well as generating and marketing electricity. The company is now present in North America with approved synthetic motor oils and specialty lubricants, high quality products ensuring maximum engine protection.
“We are delighted to join the Mustang Sampling Cadillac team and their two Portuguese drivers, Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque, as we launch our sponsorship at Daytona,” said Francisco Lima Aires, Manager of International Markets at Galp. “They along with Christian Fittipaldi won the Rolex 24 at Daytona last January and we were on hand to see that victory. Having Mike Conway as fourth driver with the team at Daytona only adds to our excitement.”
Barbosa and Fittipaldi have each won the Daytona event three times and Albuquerque was victorious last year following his second-place finish in the race in 2017.
“We have enjoyed getting to know Galp and its people during the past two seasons as they followed our Mustang Sampling team,” said Bob Johnson, Team Principal of the company that has dominated IMSA since its merger with ALMS in 2014, winning all the Michelin endurance and all but one of the WeatherTech season championships with the two-car team. “When they said they’d like to join us in an official capacity, we agreed. Our Portuguese connection is well-known and giving Galp the opportunity to promote their relationship with these drivers and the Mustang Sampling team is something we look forward to.”
With the growth of IMSA as both a compelling product for the fans and a convincing marketing platform for brands, the timing was right for Galp as IMSA anticipates an exciting season in 2019 that will see the series move to the NBC Sports family as well as the debut of Michelin tires.
“We are growing our distribution network in North America and our sponsorship of this team will be the cornerstone of our efforts”, said Francisco Lima Aires. “We recognize that IMSA racing has grown each of the past five years in audience and importance to the auto racing fans in North America. We want to ride the tide by promoting our extensive line of lubricants to our growing network of North American suppliers.”
Mustang Sampling Racing Roar Before the 24 Media Notes
The Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R will return to Daytona International Speedway for this weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24, continuing preparation in a quest for its second consecutive victory in America’s premier endurance race.
Joao Barbosa, Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi return from the 2018-winning lineup, to be joined by Mike Conway, who finished second a year ago in Action Express Racing’s No. 31 Whelen Engineering entry.
The Roar will also give the Mustang Sampling drivers the opportunity to test the new Michelin tires that will be utilized in 2019.
With the garage and pit selections having been made via championship points in the past, IMSA introduced a new approach ahead of the 2018 season. The Roar will include a special 15-minute qualifying session beginning at 12:15 p.m. ET on Sunday, which will determine coveted garage and pit road assignments for the Jan. 26-27 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Barbosa and Fittipaldi are three-time Rolex 24 winners. They co-drove for Action Express winning the 2014 event – the first race for the unified IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Barbosa also won in 2010, AXR’s debut event.
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling team also finished second in 2015 and 2017, with the team posting at least a top-five finish over the last nine years in the Daytona classic.
The season-opening Rolex 24 will also be the final Prototype race in Fittipaldi’s storied career, which spans Formula One, Indy cars and the NASCAR Cup Series. He won the Rolex 24 in 2004 for Bell Motorsports, the first overall victory for a Daytona Prototype in the event.
The Daytona Prototype international competitors will have seven practice sessions at the Roar, totaling more than eight hours of track time.
The weekend will also feature a busy schedule of media interviews, photo shoots, and IMSA event promoter engagement as the series ramps up for the highly anticipated 50th Anniversary season for IMSA.
Schedule: Friday’s two sessions begin at 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. ET. Saturday will have testing at 10 a.m. and 3:35 p.m., followed by a night session from 6:45-8 p.m. Sunday practice will be at 10:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.