Home field advantage for ESM Petron in Sebring
The 12 Hours of Sebring is a celebration of endurance racing at one of the most historic sports car venues on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship calendar: Sebring International Raceway and home track of Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM). The second round of the TUDOR Championship takes place this week with the 62nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida.
Looking for a Sebring win and valuable points in the TUDOR Championship and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup (NAEC), ESM is determined to hoist the Sebring winner’s trophy late Saturday night. It would be fitting to see Sebring’s home team stand atop the podium, especially since event this marks the second race of the four-race Tequila Patrón-sponsored NAEC. Sebring is approximately a two-hour drive for the Stuart-based team.
One year ago, ESM raced the Honda Performance Development ARX-03b (HPD) machines for the first time at the 3.74-mile track. This March, the team has one year of prototype competition under its belts and is confident in the machinery, the ability of the drivers and crew, and optimistic about its chances in the 12-hour event.
As a former Sebring 12 Hours winner, Ryan Dalziel knows what it takes to race to victory at Sebring. Following a mid-race mechanical issue at the Rolex 24, the trio piloting the No. 1 Tequila Patrón HPD – Dalziel, ESM owner/driver Scott Sharp and Australian sports car star David Brabham – expect a better result at Sebring.
Finishing fourth at the 2012 Sebring race makes No. 2 Tequila Patrón HPD racers Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek even more determined to finish on the podium this weekend. IndyCar star Simon Pagenaud makes his second appearance with ESM and Tequila Patrón this season with Brown and van Overbeek. During the Rolex 24, Pagenaud was the final driver to pilot the No. 2 machine on Sunday afternoon and finish in seventh place.
Since the opening round of the TUDOR Championship, the two ESM machines have undergone a few changes. For Sebring and the remainder season, the ESM HPDs are running a high-downforce configuration, with front dive planes and rear wicker. Additional small modifications have been made to the louvers on the front fenders. The sanctioning body, International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), has increased the amount of fuel by three liters for a total fuel capacity of 75 liters. The team will also have a slightly larger restrictor in the fueling hose.
On Friday, fans have the opportunity to meet the 2014 ESM driver lineup during the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Autograph Session beginning at 11:15 a.m. Following the autograph session ESM will be holding a live auction in the paddock area benefiting the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer, with many exclusive team items for bid. The auction starts at 11:45 a.m. (ET).
The second race of 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is the 62nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida on March 12-15. Qualifying for prototype cars takes place at 5:15 p.m. ET on Friday, March 14. Green flag for the 12 Hours of Sebring is 10:15 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 15. FOX Sports 1 live coverage runs from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (ET). The race will be streamed on www.IMSA.com from 1 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.