JOHANNES VAN OVERBEEK: NEW TEAM. VETERAN DRIVER
Johannes van Overbeek, one of the world's top independent Porsche drivers, promotes the challenges and accolades that come from building and being part of a new team. Now the latest member of Extreme Speed Motorsports, van Overbeek talks about how this GT entry has and continues to prepare its two Ferrari F430 GTs to be competition-ready for the 2010 American Le Mans Series. Let's get to the heart of your new team, Extreme Speed Motorsports.
What has the team been recently doing to prepare for its first year in
the American Le Mans Series?
"Currently we are in the process of building a new team headquarters in Florida, and our team owner Scott (Sharp) has been hard at it for more than a month. I have seen a few photos and it is really going to be something amazing."
You have been with the Flying Lizard Motorsports team since its
groundbreaking. What is it like to go through this experience with
Extreme Speed Motorsports?
"Yes, it is true. I was with [Flying Lizard] since the very, very beginning, so I am well aware of all the hard work that Scott and Derek (Granison) have done and need to continue to do going forward. They have done an exceptional job putting all the pieces together -- with building the shop, the car and organizing a team of people. Most fans only see the shiny cars that go around the race track, but there is a huge amount of pieces that have to be properly put into place."
Also, in your Series career, you have piloted Porsches and BMWs. This
will be the first time in a Ferrari. Is there a lot of excitement
surrounding learning a new car?
"I have to say that I am going to be sad not being able to work with all the friends I've made at Porsche in the more recent years, but I am excited to meet new friends in Ferrari. I look forward to this new challenge and couldn't be happier to join Extreme, Scott, Ed (Brown), and Guy (Cosmo), and having Patron a part of the project. I am excited about 2010."
What about your new teammates -- are you familiar yet with their driving
styles and preferences?
"I was around Scott, Ed and Guy a lot last year during the American Le Mans Series season, but haven't driven with any of them before."
In 2009, you were honored with the winning of the MICHELIN GREEN X
Challenge award, has Extreme Speed Motorsports also been showing signs
of embracing the green initiatives of the Series?
"I felt honored to win the first annual MICHELIN GREEN X Challenge award. At Extreme Speed Motorsports, we want to operate everything as efficiently as possible because there is a time and money component as well as the desire to be a good steward of the earth.
"From my position, I will certainly work toward being as efficient as possible while improving our impacts on the earth as much as we can and without sacrificing any performance. It's nice because the two are really linked together -- there is a synergy. You can't really do one without the other."
Will we expect to see you at Winter Test?
"Our team will be there. It will be a great time to fine tune our internal processes to allow us to be as competitive as we can possibly be."
Van Overbeek also answered a couple additional personality questions for the fans:
What was your first race car and how old were you?
"I drove a Z-28 Camaro at 22 years old."
What car do you currently drive on a daily basis?
"My passenger car is a Subaru station wagon."
How do you stay in the peak physical shape?
"I like to go longdistance cycling."
What is one thing fans might not know about you?
"I'm left handed."
Name one living person you would like to meet and why?
"Chuck Yeager. I've always been an aviation fan."
Who is the Series personality (driver, owner, crew member) you admire
"Don Panoz (Founder of American Le Mans Series). Without him the Series wouldn't exist."
The American Le Mans Series will open its 12th season with America's greatest sports car race, the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida from March 17-20. The green flag will fall at 10:35 a.m. on Saturday, March 20 with live coverage on SPEED.
The annual American Le Mans Series Winter Test is scheduled for February 22-23, also at Sebring International Raceway.You can follow the Series on Twitter (almsnotes) and on our Facebook page and the official YouTube channel.