ESM won this event, taking the top two spots on the podium...what can they do this year?
One year ago, Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) made team history with its first 1-2 finish on the streets of Long Beach. Hungry for a 2014 win, the Florida-based team has its sights set on conquering the concrete canyons of southern California again for the third round of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
As the shortest event on the calendar, the Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach is 100 minutes and traverses the picturesque streets of the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit.
In the last two events at Long Beach, ESM has scored back-to-back podium finishes. In 2012, Scott Sharp and Johannes van Overbeek finished third in the GT class. Then in 2013, in the team’s first Long Beach race in the Honda Performance Development ARX-03b prototypes, the Tequila Patrón-sponsored racers ran smart and clean races en route to making team history with the 1-2 finish. Sharp captured the checkered flag for the then No. 01 team, followed by the No. 02 machine of Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek for their first podium as co-drivers.
Despite the team’s comfort level with the temporary street circuit, there are several new variables for 2014. New for this season, ESM and the entire prototype class use Continental-branded tires. Although the team has raced on Continentals at Daytona and Sebring, this will be the first time ESM uses Continentals on the Long Beach street circuit. Factor in the six other series running this weekend, the 1.968-mile circuit will be “rubbered up” with several different tire brands.
Sharp and Ryan Dalziel, co-drivers of the No. 1 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b have some unfinished business ahead of them. Following a second-place finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March, after demonstrating the No. 1 car had better speed and handling than the competition, Sharp and Dalziel are seeking their first win of the season. Both drivers have previous wins at Long Beach – Sharp in 2013 and Dalziel in 2012 – and these two look to continue those winning ways this weekend.
Last year’s runner-up finish for Brown and van Overbeek, co-drivers of the No. 2 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b, was the first of several podium finishes. They also scored a podium on the streets of Baltimore and Circuit of The Americas.
Of course, the Tequila Patrón-sponsored team wants to win at Long Beach because it would be fitting to have ESM atop the podium at the Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach.
The Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach on April 11-12 is the third race of 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Qualifying for prototype cars takes place at 6:05 p.m. PT on Friday, April 11. Green flag for the Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase is 3:05 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 12.
Live coverage of the Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach can be seen from flag-to-flag on the Fox Sports 1 network at 6 p.m. ET. The race will also stream live on IMSA.com.