SHARP, BROWN SADDLE UP IN NEWEST 'PRANCING HORSE'
F458 shakedown in Fiorano was everything they hoped it would be
The first taste of Ferrari's new F458 Italia is only heightening the anticipation for Extreme Speed Motorsports. Scott Sharp and Ed Brown were at Ferrari's official test track in Italy last week to shake down the first of two F458s that ESM will field for the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron.
And if first impressions really are crucially important ... well, judge for yourself!
"The car is so much sportier looking, and the engine is totally different ... more powerful," said Brown, who will team with Guy Cosmo for the full ALMS GT season. "The suspension is all new, providing a lot more grip and adjustability. There is a totally new transmission; after the Winter Test we will be going to a paddle shifter. This car is the best of the best - Patron and Ferrari have never been better!"
Sharp, the 2009 ALMS LMP1 champion, was just as effusive.
"After having the honor to test the new F458 at Fiorano, we are all incredibly excited to introduce the car to America and the ALMS," said Sharp, who will again drive with Johannes van Overbeek for the full year. "Ferrari and Michelotto have done an unbelievable job with the car! It is completely new - very little is carried over from the 430. It's a gorgeous car - beautiful lines as expected and we can't wait to debut the new Patron livery! We had a great test. Both Ed and myself walked away feeling extremely comfortable and felt we could push the car quite easily. The ESM team has a big task ahead - to take delivery in the US of both cars, test them, and get ready for arguably the most grueling endurance race in the world - all within the next six weeks!"
ESM will participate in the ALMS Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., on February 9-10. General admission tickets to the Winter Test are $10 per day with no paddock admission or overnight camping.
The first race for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron is the 59th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 19. The race, set for 10:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 19, will be shown live and in its entirety on ESPN3.com and americanlemans.com. ABC will provide coverage beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 20. Visit the American Le Mans Series' schedule page for information on tickets and area accommodations.