ESM Patrón Eager for Circuit of the Americas Debut
ALMS - Stuart, FL
A grand facility deserves an extreme winner.
The purpose-built, 3.427-mile circuit features a 20-turn counter-clockwise track where more than half the turns at COTA are left-handed. Coincidentally, half of the ESM driver lineup is actually left-handed. The two “lefties” competed at the GRAND-AM race in March in Austin – Johannes van Overbeek and Anthony Lazzaro. Aboard the No. 03 ESM Tequila Patrón Ferrari, van Overbeek finished seventh; Lazzaro finished fifth in the No. 69 Ferrari.
The Circuit of The Americas (COTA) provides a new opportunity in the closing rounds of the 2013 ALMS season – a level racing field. Since this is a new venue, ESM is maximizing its time this week by participating in the testing sessions before the official race weekend festivities begin Friday morning.
Scott Sharp, co-driver of the No. 01 Tequila Patrón Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b, is third in the P2 drivers’ standings and just eight points out of first. He looks to overtake the competition both on the track and in the championship. Sharp and co-driver Lazzaro in the No. 01 prototype will use track time early in the week to get familiar with the circuit.
Ed Brown and van Overbeek, co-drivers of the No. 02 Tequila Patrón HPD look to leverage a bit of local luck this weekend. Brown graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, while van Overbeek turned laps at COTA earlier this year with GRAND-AM race. In addition, lead engineer on the No. 02 HPD machine, Jim ‘Chachi’ Malicki, is an Austin resident.
The two-hour, 45-minute American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón race at Circuit of The Americas is the eighth round of the 10-race ALMS championship and takes place on Sept. 19-21. Qualifying for P2 cars is scheduled for 3:55 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 20. Live coverage of qualifying begins at 2:40 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 20 on ESPN3.
The race will be streamed live starting at 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 21 on ESPN3. The race will be televised at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 22 on ESPN2.
“We’re really excited to race in Austin this week. This is really an unbelievable track at Circuit of The Americas. It is gorgeous. The flow is very exciting and challenging. There are 20 corners, so it is a very busy track. There are some busy and complicated sections of a number of medium- to high-speed switch backs. Timing will be very important. COTA is one of the tracks where every time you come back to race on it, you’re going to learn something more.
“Since this is my first time here, I came out early. On Sunday we ran some of our Ferrari Challenge customers and I got a few laps in those cars. Ed got in a bunch of laps and learned the track in his IMSA Lites car, so I jumped in that at the end of the day and that was very helpful. Sunday was a nice day to get us acclimated to the circuit. On Tuesday we had our ALMS test, so that was even more valuable track time.
“I think this is going to be a really great circuit for our P2 car. Unlike Baltimore, I think we’re going to be substantially faster than the LMPC and the GT cars. This track has such a makeup of corners and straightaways; I think it suits the P2 car nicely. I can’t wait to get out on the track in the P2 car this week.”
“I’m looking forward to this race; I circled it on calendar at the start of the season. “I went to school at UT so I love Austin, plus my business partner lives there so it is like a home race.
“Johannes and I need some good luck because we sure haven’t had any lately. I think our cars are going to be fantastic on this track. The ESM Patrón P2 race car loves big fast tracks.”
Johannes van Overbeek
“Although Austin is a new track, everyone in the P2 class will have completed many laps before the start of the race so I don’t believe anybody will have an advantage. “Having raced there in the GRAND-AM race in the spring, I can say that it is a first-class facility that has set the bar for all other tracks. The layout is interesting; a mix of fast and slow corners with a few technical sections thrown in. Austin gets lots of people to the track so I’m looking forward to putting on a good show for all of the fans with Ed in the 02 car.
“We’ve had weak results due to circumstances out of our control, and Austin is the perfect place for us to turn the tide in the 02 car.
“I’m left-handed so hopefully the fact that COTA goes counter-clockwise will help me!”
“Austin is new to IMSA and the ALMS, but some of us have raced there already this year. Our competition has tested there but I am confident that ESM will unload competitive cars.
“I noticed a big increase in performance from Sebring to Baltimore and I think we have the ability to compete for the win. The track, although long in length, has six turns that are second-gear which is slow. The average speed is not that fast and I think it is more suited for prototypes than GT cars so should be a good time.”
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