Scott Sharp and co-driver Guy Cosmo led laps during the opening half of the 12 Hours of Sebring.
SEBRING, Fla., Saturday, March 16, 2013 – Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) checked another box off its list this weekend at Sebring – lead laps in the new Tequila Patrón-sponsored Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b racing machines.
With ESM team owner Sharp behind the wheel, the No. 01 Tequila Patrón HPD was listed as the P2 class leader a mere two hours and nine minutes (approximately 12:54 p.m.) into the race. Sharp led until 1:23 p.m. and then retook the lead at 1:27 p.m.
Sharp turned the No. 01 Tequila Patrón over to Cosmo approximately three and an half hours into the race. Cosmo led laps in the No. 01 machine and dominated the competition for his two hour stint.
As scheduled, the ESM Tequila Patrón team pitted and David Brabham climbed back into the race car for his second stint of the race. With less than three laps competed in his first stint, Brabham heard a loud boom and stopped in turn 11.
After getting a tow back to the pit, the ESM crew and HPD engineers determined the No. 01 machine suffered from a broken input shaft that was sheared at the gearbox. The ESM team went to work and replaced the input shaft which enabled the drivers and race car to return to competition.
The No. 01 Tequila Patrón HPD returned to the race circuit at 6:36 p.m., approximately two hours and 15 minutes since Brabham was stopped on track.
The No. 02 Tequila Patrón HPD started in the fifth position and maintained pace with the P2 competition. The No. 02, co-driven by Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek and Anthony Lazzaro, battled the competition during the opening half of the race. A few off-track incidents and minor repairs in the pits put the team slightly off its expected pace. At the mid-point of the race, the No. 02 was running fourth in the P2 class.
“David was doing a great job and suddenly lost all drive in the car. The engine still worked, but it had no forward motion. We broke an input shaft, but it is fixable.
“This was unfortunate and it looked like this were going status quo all day. We had no problems. We had a little bit of an understeer in the car and it seemed to be getting worse in low speed corner, but I think that was fighting through the tires. It looked like other teams were fighting the same things – tires and track conditions because they weren’t going that much faster than we were.
“One week ago this car wasn’t even put together. To be out here at Sebring leading laps and leading the race, I didn’t foresee that this soon. We’re just scratching the surface with this new program.”
“We led laps at Sebring and I’m thrilled that the team was able to put this entire program in less than three weeks. It was pretty remarkable. We had conservative expectations this weekend. We showed great pace and managed traffic well.
“HPD tech support has been incredible. We’ve had an army of HPD technicians here to help us get this program up and running.
“In my first stint, I was working on figuring things out and realized I needed to change a few things in my driving style to help the car work better. Lap times got better and the car was easier to drive.
“We lost drive in the car. It happened right after my stint. David got in the car and within a lap or two lost drive and came to stop on track. The team is working on getting the gear box and input shaft replaced and get us back on track.”