Top Ten Finishes For ESM Patrón At Mid-Ohio
Despite contact on lap one, a broken starter and a pit road speeding penalty, the ESM team fought on to the finish in the latest round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patrón at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The No. 01 Patrón Ferrari Italia 458 fared well during opening portion of the race. Driver Scott Sharp maintained his fourth-place starting position through the majority of his stint. Midway through the race, Sharp turned the No. 01 over to co-driver Johannes van Overbeek.
During the standard driver change, fuel and tires pit stop, van Overbeek went to re-fire the Patrón Ferrari to rejoin the race and the car wouldn’t start. The No. 01 crew quickly went to work to repair the broken starter and van Overbeek returned to the track after several valuable minutes were lost in the pits. van Overbeek returned to the track in the 11th position in the GT class. During his stint, he charged through the field and ultimately finished in the sixth position.
Guy Cosmo, driving the No. 02 Patrón Ferrari Italia 458, eagerly attacked the racetrack to get a jump on the competition at the drop of the green flag but suffered contact pushing him from second to the tail of the GT field.
Cosmo and co-driver Ed Brown worked their way to an eighth place finish when the checkered flag flew. Brown took the middle driving stint and raced nearly an hour and 20 minutes, one of his longest stints this season. Brown posted career-best laps around the 2.25-mile, 13-turn road course. This eighth place finish is the best result for the No. 02 machine this season.
An issue that plagued all the ALMS teams during the race was the varying type of additional rubber on track left from the other series competing at Mid-Ohio this weekend. The quick Ferrari, combined with race traffic and an unfamiliar track surface, proved to be a challenging factor, causing grip and handling issues during the race.
“This was definitely not that day we expected to have here at Mid-Ohio. Our weekend started great with Thursday’s test and Friday’s practices. The guys did a good job getting the Patrón Ferrari prepared and handling well for such a difficult track. Then Johannes qualified the car and secured us a great starting position. We went into the race with big expectations.
“From the No. 01 perspective, we got a little bit out of sequence when some guys pitted before a potential yellow. We put ourselves back in the order pitting once the yellow did come out. From there we were still doing fine and running faster laps than the leaders.
“When we pitted the Ferrari just wouldn’t start and we don’t know why. We lost more than a minute just sitting there trying to re-fire the car to go. That put us a lap down and without any yellows to the end of the race, we just couldn’t get that lap back. And that pretty much ended our race.
“Then the No. 02 car, the same kind of thing. They had a really quick Patrón Ferrari. The guys did a great job. Ed was two seconds faster here than he’s ever been before, so he’s really upping his game. I’m really impressed with them; it just didn’t all come together for them either.
“A little would of, could of, should of, but we’ll go to Road America and that should be a good track for us.”
Johannes van Overbeek
“It was not a good day for ESM Patrón. We had the pace, but during the pit stop and driver change, the Ferrari wouldn’t start and we lost a ton of positions. If that hadn’t happened, I think we would have ended up on the podium somewhere. That was frustrating and we need to get to the bottom of it and get it fixed for Road America.
“Getting to the front is one thing and we definitely had the pace of the leaders. Because we lost so much time at the pit stop, our track position was lousy, so we really couldn’t make a dent unless there was a yellow which there wasn’t.
“The Ferrari was great but we just didn’t have the results to show for it.”
“I had a long stint in the car today and ran some of my best times ever at Mid-Ohio, which probably happened when I was the most shag tired, so that’s good. The Patrón Ferrari was just wicked on cold tires with the tire build-up. It took at least 10 laps for the tires to get that stuff off, but once it was off then I ran really good laps.
“This just wasn’t ESM’s day today – all the way around with both cars. But that’s okay, that’s racing and we look forward to getting to Road America and see what we can do there.”
“The track was like ice. But all the teams were talking about it regardless of who your tire partner was. It seems at this race, when we run with the IndyCar Series, they put down a different rubber and we get really bad tire build-up here, but everybody had to deal with it.”
“At the drop of the green flag, I wanted to get to the front and set the pace of the GT field. At the start of the race there is always plenty of traffic and all the teams are fighting for position. In the search of getting that track position, I found myself in the middle of several other cars and I tried every which way I could to try not hitting everything that was in front of me and as a result, I hit everything in front of me. There was a lot of contact. Then one of the PC cars turned down on me when I was trying to get inside of him going into turn nine and it spun him around and we kind of T-boned and he came to a stop and everyone passed me. I went from first to last.
“We had a really good Patrón Ferrari. We were really quick, of course, that damage on the first lap ruined our aerodynamics, so our handling was a little bit off but I was able to charge right back through the field and catch-up. The damage hurt us for the long run because it was wearing on the Michelins a little more than we had hoped.
“Our race strategy was good, but with how the race went, it didn’t work in our favor. Ed did a great job getting down to his best lap times.
“We had a combination of things that happened and it wasn’t our best day.”
Source: Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM)