STUART, Fla. – Tequila Patrón and Scott Sharp will return to their American Le Mans Series roots in 2013 with Extreme Speed Motorsports set to swap to the P2 prototype class.
Moving into the purpose-built Honda Performance Development ARX-03b prototypes, Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) and Tequila Patrón will run for the P2 championship beginning with the 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida next month.
(This) will put us in an ideal position going into the merged season of 2014!
The ESM driver lineup remains the same with Scott Sharp and Johannes van Overbeek co-driving the No. 01 Tequila Patrón racing machine, and Ed Brown and Guy Cosmo in the sister No. 02 Tequila Patrón prototype.
The announcement comes off the heels of ESM’s best season to date where Sharp and van Overbeek finished second in the GT championship in 2012, which included victories at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Petit Le Mans.
ESM owner/driver Sharp returns to prototype racing where he won the ALMS LMP1 championship in 2009 aboard the Patrón Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-02a prototype with co-driver David Brabham. The pairing also won four times in Acura’s P2 car during the 2008 ALMS season. Sharp’s co-driver van Overbeek is new to the P2 class but has amassed more than 100 ALMS starts and expects to be up to speed quickly in the new black and green racing machine.
Racing in the P2 class will be new to Brown, who eagerly supports Tequila Patrón’s return to prototype sports car racing with the goal of earning podium finishes and setting the foundation for a championship run during the 2014 combined sports car series. Brown will leverage the knowledge of co-driver Cosmo during the 2013 season. Like Sharp, Cosmo is a former P2 race-winner with a 2005 victory in a Mazda-powered prototype.
“I’m very proud that ESM will move to the P2 class, effective immediately. We will have two Honda ARXs for next month’s ALMS season-opener at Sebring.
“We enjoyed our three-year run in the GT class with Ferrari. If the GT class is a strong factory- supported class and you are not a full manufacturer entry, everything falls on the shoulders of the team. As a result, the independent teams are at a serious disadvantage compared to their factory-supported counterparts.
“For ESM to win two races last year, finish second in the GT championship and beat the top factory GT teams in the world is a huge testament to the time, effort, energy and dedication of everyone at ESM and Tequila Patrón.
“Moving to P2 is a new chapter for us at ESM and a homecoming for Tequila Patrón. We feel we have a terrific opportunity to learn and develop the P2 car this year, and that will put us in an ideal position going into the merged season of 2014!
“Even though we are making this change in ALMS competition, ESM will continue our relationship with Ferrari in the GRAND-AM GT class and the Ferrari Challenge.”
Johannes van Overbeek
“This is the first time I will race prototype machine now that ESM will compete in the P2 class. I’ve raced in a lot of really good GT machinery, but I’ve never been in a purpose-built racing car. I’m anxious and excited for the opportunity.
“This definitely will be an interesting challenge this season as I haven’t had any practical experience in a prototype. I’ve talked to plenty of racers that have driven these types of cars in the past, so I know what to expect. From what I’ve heard, everyone says these HPD ARXs are wonderful to drive. A lot of my former co-drivers have gone on to drive prototype cars with great success, and I expect to add my name to that list of drivers.
“I’m really looking forward to learning something new this season with these cars. I’m up for the challenge. Even though I’ve driven all the tracks we’re going to – with the exception of Austin and many times in a variety of similar cars – all the tracks will drive like new ones tracks based on the performance of the prototype cars. I’m excited for a new challenge and can’t wait to get started.”
“I’m really looking forward to seeing Tequila Patrón back on a prototype car this season, especially from behind the wheel of one.
“We’re excited for the future. I think the team evolved so quickly in the GT ranks that we did things in the category that we never thought were possible against the factory teams. We just felt like this was the next best step as a team to move forward, race in P2s and really take that forward into the new series next year.
“This is a huge step for me as a driver. I just got out of the car for the first time and I really enjoyed it. There is going to be a little bit of a learning curve on positioning in the car because I’ve never driven a car from the right side, but everything else was there in front of me. I really did enjoy my time in the car this week.
“What I said after the Sebring test about GT podium finishes still stands now that we’re in P2. You should see us on the podium every single race in this class.”
“This is a little bit of a homecoming for me. My very first American Le Mans Series race in 2003 was behind the wheel of a LMP1 Riley & Scott prototype. That was the only ALMS race I did that year. Then I returned in 2005 driving a LMP2 entry with the three-rotor Mazda.
“Growing up a go-karter and an open-wheel guy, the prototypes are what I’m most at home in and it is in my blood. Prototype cars are basically open-wheel cars with fenders on them. They are the closest sports car to an open-wheel car that’s out there. I love prototypes, and I’m excited about the opportunity to get back behind the wheel of one.
“A prototype car is more nimble, agile and lightweight. The prototypes are so much more responsive and reactive. Everything happens faster and a bit more effortless. It is a lighter, faster car with more downforce and much faster reaction time.
“As we evolve at ESM, I’m really looking forward to the new challenges racing with Ed in our Tequila Patrón P2 car this season and into 2014.”
Extreme Speed Motorsports