Making a monumental charge in the last moments of the American Le Mans Series 59th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh From Florida, Guy Cosmo picked up six positions to grab a top 10 finish for the No. 002 Extreme Speed Motorsports Patrón Ferrari.
Extreme Speed Motorsports debuted two new Ferrari F458 GT cars at Sebring for the start of the 2011 ALMS season. Challenging under the best conditions, Sebring's brutal surface and the demands of a 12-hour race are a true test of any team's mettle. The crew behind the No. 002 Patrón Ferrari was up to the task.
The No. 001 Patrón Ferrari was taken out of the race at the two-hour mark when it fell victim to an incident involving the No. 04 Corvette and the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche. With their day done, ESM's hopes were left to Cosmo and co-drivers Ed Brown and Rob Bell.
"As expected," laughed Cosmo, "Sebring was a 'tough and long week'. Learning a new car in these hot conditions had us struggling to find the balance and speed. Ultimately we did pretty well considering how little time we've had with the car. As usual, it all came down to the team putting in lots of hard work and many long hours. These guys have fantastic work ethic and are totally committed. They are extremely talented and driven. A driver can't ask for more than that."
With one of the largest starting grids in Sebring history, Cosmo gave the Extreme Speed Motorsports team a slight edge by qualifying the No. 002 car 7th. WIth a grid of 57 cars, the words endurance and survival take on new meaning.
"The car was slightly better for qualifying," noted Guy, "but still not quite where we'd like to be - however it was a really tight field. The 7th spot was good, but it does put you right in the middle of the battle. All you can do is be patient and stay clean."
"All-in-all, the race was great and it actually turned out to be a fun start," continued Cosmo. "I was able to race hard and we made up a few positions. And I got to have a nice nose-to-tail battle with the boss, Scotty Sharp. Then when Ed took his first stint, he was laying down his quickest laps of the week. Unfortunately the team had two pit infractions costing us two laps."
With two and a half hours remaining, the No. 002 car's transmission started to go bad. The team lost nearly an hour in the pits performing repairs while dropping the car to 16th position. Turning frustration into determination, Cosmo got back in and spent the next hour and a half charging through the field bringing the No. 002 Patrón Ferrari up six places to finish 10th.
“It was a long long day and a long week,” Cosmo said after the race. “But this finish is a true testament to this extraordinary crew, working with a new car through the night and all day just to get here. I can’t say enough about our crew.”
The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón heads west for its next round – the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach on Saturday, April 16. The race will be shown live and in its entirety on ESPN3.com in the United States and internationally on americanlemans.com starting at 7:15 p.m. ET. ESPN2 will provide television coverage from 5 to 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 17. Visit the American Le Mans Series' schedule page for information on tickets and area accommodations.
Guy Cosmo, 2005 American Le Mans Series Rookie of the Year competed last season in the No. 02 Extreme Speed Motorsports Patron 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 28 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. Find out more about Guy Cosmo at http://www.guycosmo.com and follow Guy through the racing weekend on Twitter @guycosmo.