Delivering on a promise, Guy Cosmo and Ed Brown drove the Extreme Speed Motorsports No. 02 Patrón Ferrari F430 GT to a top-5 finish in the American Le Mans Series Presented by Tequila Patrón Time Warner Cable Showcase at Road America.
After an abbreviated qualifying session, the No. 02 Ferrari was delegated to 12th place starting position for Sunday's race on Road America's legendary 4.048- mile, 14-turn road course. Given its long straights, high speeds and elevation changes, it's no wonder the track is a favorite among series' drivers.
"We predicted this would be a good track for Ed and I," said Guy Cosmo after the race. "To finish 5th, ahead of both Risi Ferraris is an incredible result for Ed and me. The entire Extreme Speed Motorsports crew did a flawless job for us in every way. Today we did what our team leader Scott Sharp always says - execute!"
Ed Brown took the start and delivered on his end of the bargain in spades.
"Ed did an outstanding job," added Cosmo. "He drove his best laps of the weekend after battling a car that wasn't the most confidence inspiring. He kept pace, did well in traffic and kept us on the lead lap for well over an hour at the wheel. Today Ed did everything he needed to do to put us in a position to bring the car home in the top-5."
Nowhere does pit strategy play out like at Road America. The long trip around leaves no room for error on fuel strategy. Falling behind is simply not an option.
"We gained a lot of positions with our pit strategy," noted Cosmo. "Our guys James Malicki and Bobby Khavidi deserve a lot of the credit. Their pit strategy was amazing. When I got in the car I left pit lane in 6th place. Then with a short fill soon after I was right on sequence with the group in front of me. I was able to run them down at full-bore and race for position to the end."
And race to the end they did. Cosmo kept the No. 02 car right in the thick of it. The ESM No. 01 Ferrari team of Johannes van Overbeek and team owner Scott Sharp had dropped back to 8th after leading the fiercely competitive GT class halfway through the race. It was up to Cosmo and Brown to carry the ESM Patrón flag.
"Bruni (Risi Ferrari) and I had an incredible battle during the closing laps," said Cosmo, "I ran down a 10 second deficit on him and one of the Corvettes. I then spent the next three laps glued to his bumper trying to work my way around him."
"He ran quite defensively," added Cosmo, "but he raced me clean and hard. I got a run on him heading down into turn 5 and made the pass. Then just before turn-in he managed to roll down inside of me to retake the position at the apex. Through the next few corners he blocked pretty aggressively. Ultimately, it required a few courtesy-taps to let him know I needed to get by. Heading into Canada Corner he blocked again, this time on the inside of the braking zone. I set him up and managed to squeeze under him at the exit. We drag raced up the hill to turn 13. We rubbed again as I drove around the outside of him and I had a huge wiggle nearly losing control from the contact. I suppose he could have turned me around had he wanted to, but he didn't. It was a pretty intense battle and maybe one of the best passes I've ever made. I'll go wheel-to-wheel with Bruni any day - he drove like you'd expect a true professional to drive."
"At the end-of-the day, this is all about Patrón and Extreme Speed Motorsports," acknowledged Guy. "I just can't say enough about the team and Patrón's support. We're finding success among the best in the business and it was a great day for all of us."
The ESM team heads straight to Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. The venue is Mosport International Raceway and round eight of The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón, the Grand Prix of Mosport on Sunday, August 29.
Guy Cosmo, 2005 American Le Mans Series Rookie of the Year and also a former ORBIT Racing driver, competed last season in the No. 47 Porsche 911 GT3. Cosmo is a race record-holder at Mid-Ohio (for fastest lap in the GTC series, which he set in 2009 in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup). He finished the season 3rd in the Challenge class championship qualifying on the pole three times. Cosmo has 19 starts in the American Le Mans Series, finishing in the top-five 17 times and has been on the winner’s podium twice. In addition to being an accomplished driver, Cosmo is also a highly sought-after driving instructor. Find out more about Guy Cosmo at http://www.guycosmo.com and follow Guy through the racing weekend on Twitter @guycosmo.
The ESM Ferraris are running on cellulosic E85R biofuel. The switch to alternative fuels not only helps the performance of the cars, its also in line with the American Le Mans Series global leadership of Green Racing.
Extreme Speed Motorsports is sponsored by Tequila Patrón, along with support from Ferrari Corse Clienti and the team’s official tire technical partner Michelin. Patrón, a longtime supporter of motorsports racing, is the presenting sponsor of the full American Le Mans Series.