Brown and van Overbeek third in driver's championship
Fresh off its first overall win in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) is hungry for a second victory and has its sights set on this weekend’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic on Belle Isle – the fifth round of the inaugural TUDOR Championship.
ESM is making its Detroit prototype debut. Belle Isle may be new to the ESM Tequila Patrón-sponsored Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b race cars, but the team was quickest in GT qualifying back in 2012, en route to the team’s first pole at Belle Isle as part of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.
The Belle Isle circuit was reconfigured in 2013 to the current 13-turn, 2.35-mile temporary street layout. Despite the circuit changes, the team must adapt quickly to the new configuration and manage the tight turns and bumpy surface that temporary street circuits often present.
Scott Sharp and Ryan Dalziel, co-drivers of the No. 1 Tequila Patrón HPD, are looking to return to the podium for the first time since the 12 Hours of Sebring in March. The duo has showed its speed and performance in the last two rounds of competition but bad luck reared its ugly head both times. Despite running some of the quickest laps at Long Beach, the No. 1 machine ran out of fuel on the white flag lap. Then earlier this month after running strong at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the team was forced to the sidelines mid-race with a broken gearbox. Sharp was part of that pole-winning team in 2012 at Belle Isle and he also competed there in the IndyCar Series. Dalziel finished on the Belle Isle podium in 2013 and looks to make a return visit.
Still riding the wave of their first overall win at the Grand Prix of Monterey earlier this month are Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek, co-drivers of the No. 2 Tequila Patrón HPD. The duo started from the pole and resumed the lead with 15 minutes remaining in the race to capture the team’s first win of the season. Van Overbeek has raced at Belle Isle before but teammate Brown is new to the island circuit. With four races complete this season, Brown and van Overbeek are third in the driver’s championship standings.
This weekend’s race is the only TUDOR Championship event that takes place on a state park and island. On Feb. 10, Belle Isle Park was recognized as a State of Michigan park. The 982-acre island is situated on the Detroit River just off the mainland with a view of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Chevrolet Sports Car Classic presented by the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Continental on May 30-31 is the fifth race of 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Qualifying for prototype cars takes place at 5:45pm ET on Friday, May 30. Green flag is 12:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 31.
“We’re excited to get back to the Motor City with the Tequila Patrón/ESM team! Last time I was there with the Honda HPD was in 2008, and we ran extremely well. Certain tracks suit our car in the Prototype/Daytona Prototype battle and we’re not sure Belle Isle will be one of them, but certainly both cars are going to go for the win. The No. 2 car is coming off a great win and both Ed and Johannes are pumped so I expect a lot out of them!”
“I’m looking forward to racing in Detroit this weekend. My wife has a lot of family that lives there so that's always fun. I’ve never raced at Belle Isle, so I will need to learn the track and get up to speed pretty quick. We have limited track time this weekend, so I’ll have my hands full. Johannes and I are coming off our first win, so we hope to keep the momentum going this weekend at Detroit.”
“Detroit is a really great event and the changes they made to the track from 2012 to 2013 really improved the racing. I had a podium finish in 2013, so I know my way around pretty well. It’s a very technically difficult street course and extremely bumpy – something that may not suit our HPD perfectly, but as always, ESM will give Scott and I the best race car possible.
“Laguna was obviously a huge disappointment for the No. 1 car, so I want nothing else than to give my guys another podium finish. As always on these tight street courses traffic will be tough. Running with the GTLM cars at Long Beach worked out really well but I think with the slower GTDs and the fact there are so many it will make it a really interesting race.”
JOHANNES VAN OVERBEEK
“Detroit/Belle Isle is a great venue for a race. I’ve raced Belle Isle three times and have had a great time in each outing. Coming off of our win at Laguna, Ed and I and our crew are motivated more than ever; we’ve tasted success and we all want more!
“The mix of GTD cars will make it very challenging as will the bumpy-slower nature of the track. If we're well-rehearsed on the things we can control and get a bit of luck, we will have a great day at Belle Isle!"
Extreme Speed Motorsports