SALT LAKE CITY FANS TO SEE DOUBLE PATRON ON TRACK AT MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK SALT LAKE CITY, UT, Thursday, May 7, 2009: Race fans will get a double dose of Tequila Patron on track at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City next week when the...
SALT LAKE CITY FANS TO SEE DOUBLE PATRON ON TRACK AT MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK
SALT LAKE CITY, UT, Thursday, May 7, 2009: Race fans will get a double dose of Tequila Patron on track at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City next week when the Patron Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-02a is joined on track by the Tequila Patron Porsche of Ed Brown and Bill Sweedler in the new ALMS Challenge Class.
Brown and Sweedler will join Scott Sharp and David Brabham in Patron colors in the main American Le Mans Series event. The pair will challenge for victory in the new class for Porsche GT3 cars from the Patron GT3 Challenge.
Brown - the CEO of Patron Spirits - and his team-mate Sweedler will also be doing double duty in Salt Lake City, continuing their championship challenge for Orbit Racing in the separate Patron GT3 Challenge events.
The duo made their debut in the GT3 championship last season, with Acura LMP1 star Scott Sharp taking on a mentor role.
Sharp actually joined the GT3 drivers in a recent test session at Salt Lake City in preparation for the Miller Motorsports Park weekend. The recent Acura Sports Car Challenge of St Petersburg winner faces a busy month of May - combining his ALMS championship challenge with an assault on the Indy 500 aboard the Tequila Patron sponsored car entered by Panther Racing.
The graduation for Brown and Sweedler will also be a big step next week - going from 30 minute sprint races to a 2 hour, 45 minute enduro and also introducing pit stops and driver changes for the first time.
Next week's fourth round of the American Le Mans Series on May 17 will be screened on SPEED TV on a tape delayed basis from 10:00 PM - 1:00AM EDT.
"Ed only made his motorsport debut in the past couple of years and I have actually learned quite a bit from working with him.
"Some aspects of motorsport can be taught but most of it you really have to go and experience it for yourself - you really can't teach that in a classroom.
"When it comes to racing craft, I really took a lot of it for granted because I have been at it for so many years starting in go-karts as child.
"You get thrown into situations that you learn from and they are stored away in the memory bank.
"When it comes to restarts, racing on different surfaces, dealing with dirt or oil on the track - there are so many scenarios that you start to experience as a kid in karts that really stay with you throughout your career.
"For Ed, he has never done any of that in the past so to look at his progression so far it really is tremendous.
"It is a big challenge for him because in the Patron GT3 championship he is the least experienced driver in the field and some of the guys he is racing against have been at it for many years.
"Stepping up for the ALMS Challenge Class with Bill, the GT3 car will certainly be a big step.
"For Brabs and I in the Patron Highcroft Acura LMP1 car we are spending 90 per cent of our time looking forward. The guys in the GT classes have to keep one eye in the mirror in the middle of the battle. In the GT3 Porsche, that will be an even bigger challenge because they will be out there with three classes that are faster.
"My advice to Bill and Ed is really to just go out and do the same thing they have been doing in the Patron GT3 Challenge - just keep out of trouble, push hard and concentrate on getting to the end.
"This will be the longest race either of them have done but I'm confident they will put in a great performance."
"It will be a big challenge for Bill and myself but we are really looking forward to stepping up to another level of racing.
"The first race I did was in a professional race so I have always had to jump into the deep end a little. I've always wanted to keep moving up to the stage where I could race on a professional basis, but I never imagined it would happen within a two-year window.
"Scott has been a tremendous help in developing my racing skills and he is always very hard on me, but I really do trust him with my life.
"Whether it is him riding with me, or me riding with him in the Porsche - those are very valuable laps for me and I am very fortunate to have one of the top racers in the world to give me one-on-one training like that.
"Seeing him in action really gives me an appreciation for what guys like he and Brabs can do. When I first wanted to go racing I thought to myself - how hard can this be? - I drove fast on the highway all the time.
"In my past life I was a professional golfer - that is a very difficult sport - but when it comes to race cars, driving at 70 - 75 per cent is not too bad, but pushing a car to its absolute limit is truly one of the hardest things I have done - both mentally and physically.
"In golf I am a big visual guy - visualizing where I am going to play shots - and in the car I now work hard on the same thing. Visualizing where I am going to put the car on track, when I am going to get on the brakes, how hard I am going to jump on the throttle - I've really tried to focus on running laps in my mind to the same time I would actually be running a lap on the track.
"I think those techniques have been very beneficial in my progression.
"Next week i'll also have to keep visualizing the Patron Acura going past us in front of the opposition."
"I am best friends with both Ed and Scott and when Patron was first looking at getting involved in motorsport I said to Ed, 'You have to meet my friend Scott Sharp' - that is how this all started.
"That all kicked off around four years ago with Tequila Patron doing an associate sponsorship and we all got started from there. I had completed a Skip Barbour course, done quite a few different racing events and also spent a lot of time watching Scott.
"But Ed challenged me to get involved in racing more seriously and jokingly said 'I will be so much faster than you on the track' and that's how we first got into it.
"We started in the MX-5 Pro Series and worked our way up to the GT3 Challenge but to now get the chance to be on the same race track as Scott is a tremendous opportunity.
"The laps we did with the Acura guys in Sebring earlier this year was great because it gave us a general idea of what to expect from the prototypes.
"We will be racing for the class win but we have to be cognisant of everything else that is going on around us.
"It is always great to have Scott along with us during testing sessions. He has been a great mentor and coach but more importantly it is handy to have another rabbit to chase - it is great to stick him in one of the cars and we get to try to chase him down.
"I'm sure it also gives him an insight into the how these cars perform on the limit - in corners and braking - it must be a big help to know what to expect when he comes up to go by us.
"At Salt Lake City we are going to use Ed's GT3 car in the ALMS race and we'll probably swap back and forth as we go forward into the other races.
"Both the cars are identical other than the fact my car's paint scheme is an exact reverse of Ed's - black on green instead of green on black."