SEBRING, Fla., Saturday, March 16, 2013 – Prototype P2 class debutantes Tequila Patrón and Extreme Speed Motorsports achieved its opening goal of getting both cars to the finish at Sebring today.
Less than one month ago, ESM transitioned into the purpose-built Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b prototypes. The Florida-based team has worked countless hours building and testing the new racing machines. That hard work and effort came to fruition this week with fourth and fifth place finishes at the 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida on Saturday.
The No. 01 Tequila Patrón HPD started in the fourth position in the ALMS P2 class with David Brabham behind the wheel for an opening triple stint. The Australian turned driving duties over to Scott Sharp and shortly after taking the wheel, Sharp charged through the field and took the No. 01 machine to the P2 lead and set the race pace for the majority of his stint. Guy Cosmo was third on-deck and led laps during his two hour stint.
Nearly halfway through the race, Brabham was back into the No. 01 for his second go-around the 3.75-mile circuit. Brabham turned less than three laps, heard a loud boom and stopped in turn 11. With some assistance back to the ESM paddock area, the team went to work and diagnosed the issue as a sheared input shaft in the gearbox. The team replaced the damaged piece and the car returned to the track two hours and 15 minutes later.
The No. 01 car experienced no issues for the remainder of the race and crossed the finish line in fifth position in the P2 class.
The sister No. 02 Tequila Patrón HPD started in the fifth position. Anthony Lazzaro drove the first stint and reached as high as third in class. The No. 02 team cruised through the driver lineup of Lazzaro, Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek without any mechanical issues.
The No. 02 experienced a few off-track adventures but none to cause serious damage to the race car or the race pace. At the end of the 12 hour endurance event, the No. 02 car was ranked in the fourth position in P2.
Next on the schedule for the Extreme Speed Motorsports is the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach scheduled for April 19-20, 2013.
“The entire ESM/Patrón team did a great job with everything that’s been going on the last couple of weeks. We showed great pace.
“It was a huge effort for us to get back out on the track to get double fifth place points for the 01 car. That could pay us huge dividends in the championship tally.
“The 02 guys did a great job all day. They were solid and strong.
“Overall, we have a lot to be optimistic about and to build off of. I’m excited to get to Long Beach.
“We started this week with a brand new car in the 01 and the 02 car that only had one test session on it, and now we know where we need to go from here. I think we’ve got a long list of where we want to get better. I think we can really start to build a game plan. We all know what needs to be done and we have a short three weeks before the Long Beach street race.”
“We said we wanted to make it through all segments today in the 02 car. We ran fourth for most of the race. The cars performed pretty well today. We had some moments of bad luck during the day.
“Our goal was for both cars was to finish the race and that’s exactly what happened.
“My first stint was long. We had a big learning curve and I struggled a little bit on the first stint. The second stint was much better; I had a lot of fun and was passing cars. I was able to get better every lap, which is what we wanted.
“We want to learn everything about the cars that we can. It was important for us to go through all 12 hours, both for the crew and drivers, so we could really work on the cars and figure them out.
“Long Beach is a street course and it will be a whole different animal compared to Sebring.
“It was great to see the 01 car as a P2 lead laps today. It is unfortunate they had an issue because they probably could have run up front all day.”
Johannes van Overbeek
“We finished fourth and earned some solid points. We had some struggles today, but our objective was to finish the race and we did.
“Since this was my first race in a P2, I gained a ton of experience today in the car. One of the surprising things I noticed was that the P2 was physically easy to drive compared to what I’m used to. It doesn’t wear you out like the GT car does. The g-forces are higher but as long as you are fit for that, you are fine. Plus the P2 doesn’t get as hot as the GT car does.
“I learned a lot and I’m looking forward to applying it at races going forward.”
“The guys did an amazing job getting us back on track this afternoon. The car ran really well all day. We had a lot more pace today than we thought we did.
“We thought we were behind the eight-ball a bit, but it turns out that the average race pace we were as fast or faster than everybody else, so we were in a really good spot.
“We were able to complete the required drive time and can collect points for this race. Our ultimate goal is to win the championship this year, so we need points at every race.”
“I feel spoiled – I finished and started the race for the team.
“We got to the end and picked up some points which is really important for the guys and the team. I think we had a good showing. We were very competitive. Our times were very good compared to the other P2 cars.
“I’m proud of the team and they should be proud of everything they accomplished this week.
“The grip was changing during the race, so the car was getting better as the race went on. It was nice to get into a rhythm during the night stints. We showed what we were capable of out there night.
“It should be a great season for ESM. Thanks to Scott, Ed and Tequila Patrón for having me race with them this weekend.”
“The ESM team put a ton of effort into this program. The guys did a fantastic job all week long and for the weeks leading up to the race. The 01 car was in contention for win; it was good to see them running up front. We had a good couple of stints in the 02 car. We had a few issues after that, but it is all part of the learning curve. My hat is off to Ed and Scott for making the decision to run P2 cars to really position themselves for next year. This is just the first race to learn.
“My stints were fun. The P2 car isn’t as physically demanding as the GT cars because they are a lot cooler to drive with the open cockpit.
“The 02 was quick. We were only a few tenths off the quickest race lap by the winners, so I think we can be proud of our speed.”