Guy Cosmo had high-hopes going in to the 60th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida. But the American Le Mans Series sponsored by Tequila Patrón season opener did not turn out as planned. Teamed with Extreme Motorsports co-drivers, Scott Sharp and Johannes van Overbeek in the #01 Patron Ferrari 458GT, Guy watched his fortunes quickly fall victim to traffic, rough driving and inexperienced competition.
"Total disappointment - that about sums it up,” said a dejected Cosmo. “ESM did such a great job and worked so hard to prepare for this event. We had a very fast car and a full-team effort behind us. I guess it just wasn't meant to be. It was a really challenging day."
This year’s event was paired with the new FIA World Endurance Championship creating a record number of entries and nine classes of competition. The 64 car grid was peppered with a broad range of cars and driver skill levels - the likes of which have not been seen at Sebring in the modern sports car era. To say the legendary 3.74-mile circuit was crowded would be an understatement.
A good start:
"I had a great first stint going,” said Guy. “I got a good start and slowly picked off a few positions within the first 20-30 minutes. Our #01 Ferrari was strong and getting better throughout my run.”
“I had worked my way up to 4th place,” added Guy, “and was whittling my way to the front. I caught a lone GTC-class car that wasn't letting any one by. As each of the group slowly forced their way around him, I took my turn and moved inside him on the entry to turn 13. The next thing I know I'm hit in the left rear tire, turned around and sitting in the weeds. Needless-to-say I was furious. I immediately got the car re-fired and carried on.”
“Unfortunately,” continued Guy, “during the spin the alternator belt got thrown off the motor and forced me to pit a lap later. I took the car back to the garage for what turned out to be a lengthy repair. That stop put us 7 laps down, and our hopes for a win were over."
"Once I got back on track I continued to set lap times as fast and faster than the GT leaders,” noted Guy. “I managed to pass the class-leading car and regained us a lap. Even though the #01 car was flying, problems struck again soon after Scott Sharp climbed aboard. Scott was clobbered by another Ferrari in Turn 17 where he suffered more damage to the car.”
While all of the #01 drivers were quick in the car, one more issue with the alternator belt set the team back another 20 or so laps. Through it all, the ESM crew quickly rectified each situation and got the #01 car back on track. It was important to all to see the Tequila Patrón colors fly and take the checkered flag. The crew certainly deserved a better finish.
"It was great to share the #01 Ferrari with Scott and Johannes,” said Guy. “We worked well together and showed we are a very quick combination. Though, I am looking forward to getting back into the #02 with Ed Brown as my teammate. Ed was very quick at Long Beach last year, so we're looking for a podium finish out there for sure. This year is going to be exciting. Sebring is behind us and we're already working towards Long Beach - stay tuned!"
The 12 Hours of Sebring (full 12-hour program) will be archived on ESPN3.com for three weeks and on ALMS.com for on-demand viewing.
The next round for the ALMS is the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach on Saturday, April 14. The race will start at 7:30 p.m. ET with live coverage on ESPN2. The second round of the championship also will be shown live on ESPN3 in the United States.
Guy Cosmo, 2005 American Le Mans Series Rookie of the Year drives the No. 02 Extreme Speed Motorsports Patrón Ferrari. 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). Cosmo has 38 starts in the American Le Mans Series, finishing in the top-five 18 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. Follow Guy through the racing weekend on Twitter @guycosmo and on Facebook.
The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón is the world`s leading sports car championship and is recognized as the Global Leader in Green Racing. In the tradition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, multiple classes of cars - purpose-built prototypes and production-based Grand Touring automobiles - race on the track at the same time to create compelling race action and constant passing. All cars in the Series compete using one of five approved alternative fuels or energy sources: clean sulfur-free diesel, cellulosic E85 or E10, Isobutanol and electric hybrid technologies. The Series has more automobile marques involved than any other major race series in the world as manufacturers develop relevant technologies on track that transfer directly to the customer showroom. The ALMS competes at North America`s premier road racing tracks and selected temporary street circuits in major urban markets.