ESM Patrón Prepares for Sebring 12 Hours
ALMS - Stuart, FL
That preparation is about to pay off in this weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida is this weekend,. Armed with two Tequila Patrón-sponsored Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b racing machines, ESM will take to the 3.74-mile, 17-turn track early in the week to maximize on-track time in the new race cars.
Scott Sharp, Guy Cosmo and David Brabham will share the driving duties of the No. 01 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b while Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek and Anthony Lazzaro will pilot the No. 02 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b.
A mere two hours from ESM’s Stuart, Fla. headquarters, Sebring International Raceway is one of the team’s home tracks.
On Friday, March 15, fans have the opportunity to meet the 2013 ESM driver lineup during the ALMS Driver Autograph Session beginning at 11:15 a.m. Following the autograph session ESM will be holding a live auction in the ALMS paddock area benefiting the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer, with many exclusive team items for bid. ESM’s Guy Cosmo will serve as the auctioneer and he will be joined by other team drivers and crew members. The auction starts at 12:30 p.m. (ET).
The 2013 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón begins with the 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida on March 11-16. Qualifying for P2 cars takes place at 2:20 p.m. ET on Friday, March 15. Green flag for the 12 Hours of Sebring is 10:45 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 16. SPEED’s live coverage begins at 10:30 a.m. ET.
“This is unbelievably exciting and a big step for ESM/Patrón. This is a move for the future and this will be even more exciting for 2014 when the classes are merged and were vying for the overall wins. It is going to take a lot of groundwork this year.
“It is exciting coming to Sebring and running the two P2 Honda-powered cars. I remembered the minute I climbed back into one what an awesome piece of machinery this is. It does everything it is supposed to do – brake, turn, put the throttle down and carry such great corner speed. But we have a ways to go in setting the cars up and optimizing them.
“The team has worked long hours to ensure that we are ready for this week. I just can’t begin to say enough about the hard work and effort that the team has done. They did three months of work in less than three weeks. We’re excited for the season to start, excited for what we are going to learn and for what the future holds.
“Our goal this weekend is to get both cars to finish the race. If we can be there at the end of the race, we’ve got a great shot at some podiums and maximizing our experience of learning. The guys have put in huge efforts and hopefully, we as drivers deliver bring both cars home this weekend.”
“I’m very excited for the season to get started especially with our beautiful new race cars at Sebring!
“This is the start to a memorable season for ESM, Tequila Patrón and the ALMS. The move from GT to P2 has been challenging for the team but we are ready to go for Sebring. This is always a historic race and I hope it is a memorable one for ESM.
“It is hard to compare last year’s Sebring to this year’s race. We had a great car last year and ran strong all race. I’m expecting to have a similar race this weekend – strong, consistent and fighting at the end.
“I had a really good first test in the new P2 car so I’m really looking forward to racing it. I’ve got two great co-drivers in Johannes and Anthony, so we have high hopes in doing well this weekend.”
Johannes van Overbeek
“Having raced in ALMS since its first full season, I feel privileged to be in the series in the last full year, while facing the new challenge of driving a P2 car.
“The prototype car is completely new to me, so I have a lot to learn. I’m relying on all my teammates for help and guidance. Because this is a new program and this is really a learning year for us, in many ways it takes a lot of the pressure off of the race. Our main objective is to just get to the end of the race, learn as much as we can about driving and operating the car. I’m going to be a student at this race.
“At the end of the day, the P2 is just another race car but it has subtleties and nuances that you need to master to really be proficient at it. I’m not there yet, I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface in terms of driving the P2 car.
“The last month has been full of changes and surprises at ESM/Patrón. Ed is a great guy and I have a huge amount of respect for him. I hope I can share with him what I know and help him, which will help us achieve some good results this year. Plus, we have Anthony with us at Sebring. He has a huge reservoir of knowledge and experience in a variety of cars and he was instantly quick in the P2 car. I’m going to be leaning on him for guidance.
“As always, I’m really looking forward to the season, racing at Sebring and the new challenge of the P2 car.
“This year I’ll be in the 01 car full-time with Scott, and having David Brabham join us is a real treat. Both Scott and David know this car very well, and David is the absolute master of prototype endurance racing. He will be a huge asset to the team in our first race with the P2 cars.
“My first Sebring 12 Hour was in an P1 prototype in 2003, and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my career. Being back in a prototype at Sebring will be special for me, and I’ll be in the most competitive situation I’ve been in yet. We have a lot to learn with these cars, but a win is not out of reach.
“We will be pushing very hard to take that victory. I’m ready.”
“To think that I will be teaming up with Scott Sharp and Patrón after our successful time together in 2008 and 2009 feels so good. Both Scott and I have won many races and a Championship, so we both plan to get back to winning ways at Sebring. I have always had great support from the crowd at Sebring, as has ESM, so we plan on giving them something to cheer about. The Patrón brand is a popular one and to see the color scheme of the new HPD P2 car I am sure the crowd will be drawn to it.
“Last year I was racing for JRM in the P1 HPD and we had a new car just built at the last minute before Sebring. We got the car into the top three towards the end of the race when we had a encountered a problem, so I am hoping to improve on this with ESM.”
“There are not a lot of P2 cars on the grid for Sebring, so I applaud ESM for making the step up because the class needs some support. Having said that, the cars that are out there are very good – driven very well and run by very good teams. The competition at Sebring will be fierce but it only takes two to have a race.
“I think Ed, out of all the guys that drove the P2 car during the test, was the most remarkable because of the speed. He did some really quick lap times and it was his first time in the prototype. Johannes was quick as well. I look forward to racing with Ed and Johannes this weekend.
“I love racing at Sebring. I’ve been on the podium but never won. It is one of those races where I’d love a shot a victory. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I want to win the race. It is the Sebring 12 Hours – one of the best sports car races in the world. This weekend has some nostalgia to it.
“My first race at Sebring was in 1993. I have my routine at Sebring and that’s to go into the infield the night before the race and see the people, take in the atmosphere and environment. I enjoy being out there with the fans and see what everyone is doing.”
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