EXTREME SPEED MOTORSPORTS GAINING GROUND IN QUALIFICATIONS AT MAZDA RACEWAY LAGUNA SECA
Monterey, CA, September 16, 2011 - Extreme Speed Motorsports is beginning to see the sunlight at the end of a long development tunnel-literally. After a typical chilly Monterey California morning-the sun finally broke through to bring on the speed and warmer temperatures for the GT qualifying session at the penultimate round of the American Le Mans Series Championship-Presented by Tequila Patrón.
Long due for a turnaround, the team made strides toward tackling their development issues for the brand new Ferrari 458 Italia's and finished the session with the 02 Tequila Patrón car firmly in P4 followed by the sister 01 machine just behind in P6 in class. Pilots Guy Cosmo and Johannes van Overbeek were both pleased and yet a bit frustrated by their results.
"We had pretty good improvement from what we have been through the last couple of races," said Cosmo. "The team has worked very, very hard to sort out a lot of the small glitches we have had with the cars lately-the transmission and the paddle shift system. We are the development car in North America, if not the world for this 458 and this paddle shift system, so we committed to developing it and although we have suffered a bit from this process we seem to have nailed it down and the car ran well today.
Once again the focus was to try and get Ed (Brown) a lot of track time and he likes this track a lot. We need to get his pace up a bit more and he is doing a great job. But I go into qualifying not knowing what I've got against everyone else because we don't work on a qualifying set up-we work on getting Ed track time. But there is nothing more thrilling than hopping in blind and qualifying well. It's a testament to how well this car is set up and how great of a job the team does. All I have to do is just strap in and do what I do and we get some results."
Cosmo ran a solid time of 1:23:367 to put him in a tight line behind the Corvette and BMW teams, with van Overbeek just behind him-also mere tenths off the pace with a consistent run of 1:23:386.
A local-and long-time fan of the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca course, van Overbeek also had mixed emotions regarding his qualifying run.
"It was a bit of a frustrating session for ESM Patrón today," said van Overbeek. "We have been top four in every session and qualifying and we just seemed to miss the peak of the tire as the car was coming in. But it's a six hour race and everyone is really competitive. The good news is that we can run these times over and over and stay consistent-so I am looking forward to a good race tomorrow."
The ESM team was confident in their abilities to work their way through the development phase of the car, so it was no surprise to Matt Bishop and Corey Odenbrett to see the green and black machines at the top of the speed charts today. The Crew Chiefs of the 02 and 01 cars respectively have been looking forward to the challenge of the fast and intimidating layout of the 11 turn, 2.238 mile historic course-while each had a different objective.
For Jupiter, Florida resident Matt Bishop-it was all about focusing on driver education. "For the amount of time that Guy had in the car it's pretty impressive", he said. "But it shows how well we had it roll off the truck. So we knew we had a good package for the weekend, but with trying to get Ed as much time as possible, Guy didn't really get what he needed. So I think we could have had a little quicker time if we had been able to get Guy in for a little bit longer. But we achieved our objective in getting Ed comfortable with the car and improving his lap times."
Odenbrett was much more casual in his studied approach. "It was a good run and Johannes (van Overbeek) is right there. The car has a good balance and it's a long six hour race so we just wanted to make sure we had a good starting position to keep us out of trouble early and so we will just run and see where it puts us at the end."