Elkhart Lake, WI – The Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) team earned its third podium finish of the 2012 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patrón on Saturday afternoon. With a final lap pass, Johannes van Overbeek battled with the fearsome group of GT competitors en route to the third place finish during the four-hour Road America Road Race Showcase.
Today’s podium result continues ESM’s best season to date, which includes a third-place podium finish at Long Beach and win at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, for the No. 01 Tequila Patrón Ferrari Italia 458 piloted by van Overbeek and ESM driver/owner Scott Sharp.
During the opening hour of the race, both of the Tequila Patrón Ferraris charged through the field and reached as high as fourth and fifth positions. After starting the race in the sixth spot, van Overbeek took the No. 01 Tequila Patrón Ferrari Italia 458 to the fourth position before turning the car over to co-driver Sharp an hour into the race.
Sharp was scored in sixth position when the green flag was dropped after a caution period. He maintained a steady pace and his position throughout his driving stint.
With approximately one hour to go in the race, Sharp pitted the No. 01 for new tires, fuel and a driver change to van Overbeek. As soon as van Overbeek’s final stint began, a full course caution period was caused by another race car off track. As the team had just pitted prior to the caution, van Overbeek was able to stay out on course to gain track position.
In the final hour of the race, van Overbeek maneuvered the No. 01 through the field and ultimately finished in the third position.
The No. 02 Tequila Patrón Ferrari finished in 11th position. Unfortunately, the result did not show the impressive performance of the drivers and machinery.
Guy Cosmo, in the No. 02 car, worked his way up to fifth position, just one spot behind the sister car in the opening hour of the race. Cosmo’s charge through the field was highly impressive considering the No. 02 machine qualified 13th but started from the rear of the ALMS field at the drop of the green flag. The No. 02 machine had been moved to the back of the ALMS griddue to the addition of Anthony Lazzaro to the driver line-up on Saturday morning. Lazzaro served as a stand-by driver following a back injury sustained by Cosmo during the weekend.
During Cosmo’s double-stint in the Ferrari, he continued to charge through the field and passed two GT-class cars and other competitors. At the end of his stint, Cosmo had the No. 02 running a race-high of fourth position in GT. Cosmo radioed to the team and mentioned he was experiencing difficulties with the Ferrari’s paddle-shift system. The team diagnosed and identified the problem as an electrical failure.
At the start of the third hour, Ed Brown then climbed into the No. 02 for his first stint. Brown returned to the field under caution, and was ranked seventh when the green flag was shown. Throughout his stint, Brown battled both the competition and the paddle shifting issue originally identified by Cosmo. Brown completed his stint and turned the No. 02 machine back over to Cosmo to finish the four-hour event.
As a result of the electrical failure within the paddle shifting system, the No. 02 machine’s closing laps of the race were not as fast as its opening laps. Cosmo maintained a quick pace but was unable to challenge the other GT competitors for position. When the checkered flag flew, the No. 02 crossed the finish line in the 11th position.
Next up for the Extreme Speed Motorsports team is the Baltimore Sports Car Challenge presented by SRT on the streets of Baltimore, MD, on August 31-September 1.
Source: Extreme Speed Motorsports