MONTEREY, Calif. – Extreme Speed Motorsports set high expectations this weekend for the American Le Mans Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
But road course gremlins seemed to haunt the two-car team from Florida. At the end of Saturday’s four-hour event, ESM finished in third and fourth in the American Le Mans Series P2 class.
Shortly after taking the class lead, Cosmo cut a right rear Michelin tire.
He pitted, the team replaced the tire and Cosmo returned to the field seven seconds behind the leaders. Shortly after replacing the right rear tire, nearly one hour into the race, the new right rear tire was cut. Cosmo pitted and returned to competition for the second time.
The team inspected the No. 01 machine and determined that debris was lodged inside the wheel well which caused damage to the sidewall of the Michelin tires.
Throughout the race, the No. 01 team also worked to adjust the chassis and camber to ensure additional tires would not suffer the same damage.
At the two hour race, the No. 01 team pitted as scheduled for driver change and full pit stop. Co-driver and ESM team owner Scott Sharp would pilot the black and green racing machine for the final two hours of the race.
Sharp battled the competition and looked to improve upon the team’s third place running position but ran out of time. Sharp crossed the finish line in third place of the P2 class.
Johannes van Overbeek was slated to start and finish the race in the No. 02 Tequila Patrón HPD machine, with Ed Brown driving the middle stint. The gremlins stared early for the No. 02 when the race car would not start on the grid.
In order to get the car started, van Overbeek used the back-up starter and was on his way to join the rest of the racing pack. By the time van Overbeek joined the competition, he was at the end of the field.
Immediately following the green flag, there was the first full course caution of the race. Per the race strategy, van Overbeek pitted for fuel. During his hour and half stint, van Overbeek continued to experience electrical issues, which began on the grid, throughout his stint. He powered through and led the P2 class before turning the race car over to co-driver Ed Brown.
Brown climbed into the No. 02 Tequila Patrón racing machine and experienced the same electrical issues as van Overbeek. Except during Brown’s stint, the electronics in the race car stopped. Brown pitted 30 minutes into his stint and the team quickly decided to take the race car to the garage.
Both ESM crew and Honda HPD engineers inspected the electronics. The team officially retired from the race at 6:14 p.m., as a result of electrical issues. The No. 02 Tequila Patrón HPD was listed in fourth place in the P2 class on official timing sheets.
Over the next few weeks, ESM is slated to log several test days with the HPD machines before the next ALMS race in July.
Next up for the Extreme Speed Motorsports team is the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park on July 6-7.
Extreme Speed Motorsports