STUART, Fla., – Jan. 21, 2014 – Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) – equipped with two Tequila Patrón-sponsored Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b race cars and seven world-class, championship-winning drivers – is ready to conquer the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship this weekend with the series’ longest and most challenging endurance race – the 52nd Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona.
This marks ESM’s third straight Rolex 24 At Daytona race. In 2012 and 2013, the team entered one GT racing machine with a best finish of ninth place in class. With the formation of the TUDOR Championship, ESM will practice, qualify and race two machines in the highly-competitive prototype class.
Led by ESM owner Scott Sharp, the Florida-based team spent much of the off season preparing for the 2014 season which included adding Ryan Dalziel to the team. Sharp and Dalziel serve as the season-long co-drivers and are teamed with David Brabham for the Rolex 24. The No. 1 Tequila Patrón HPD driving trio all have Rolex 24 wins to their credits. Sharp was the 1996 overall winner, Brabham earned a class win in 2003 and Dalziel was the overall winner in 2010.
Season-long co-drivers of the No. 2 Tequila Patrón HPD, Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek, are joined by two-time Rolex 24 winner Anthony Lazzaro (1999, 2002) and Simon Pagenaud, the 2006 Champ Car Atlantic champion and Brabham’s co-driver in 2010 when the two won the American Le Mans Series prototype class championship.
“Finally! The ESM Patrón team is heading to Daytona for the start of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship and the Rolex 24!”
“This is a huge race for our team. Not only is it the legendary twice-around-the-clock challenge, but it is the first leg of the four-race Tequila Patrón NAEC. It is imperative that both cars get through the race clean and score big points.”
“The excitement of the new season is difficult to put into words… the start of the season feels like the night before Christmas as a little kid. Since this is the first race of the new series, plus it is the first Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup race, it brings even more excitement. It would be awesome to win the first race of the season, but the most important thing is for both cars to finish with points.”
“The HPD has its own advantage at Daytona and I think we are really close to where we want to be with the Continental tires and recent engine restrictor changes. But where we hope to be stronger than the competition is tire wear. The Continental Tire has been great so far with durability but we hope we can maybe run one more stint out of them which could be a big advantage during cold night conditions.”
Johannes Van Overbeek:
“Ed, Anthony, Simon and I will work hard to be among that select crowd of those still chasing that checkered flag. Whatever transpires over the 24 hours, the fans will be in for a treat for the kickoff race of a new generation of sports car racing in the U.S. I’m honored to be a part of it driving for ESM/Patrón.”
“We’re prepared for anything that happens at this long race. The team and the HPDs are well suited because the race is long. Our car will be fast enough to have a chance to win, so I am looking forward to it. ESM has assembled a great team, cars and drivers, so my expectation of the race and our performance is to practice, qualify and race well. We have the talent and equipment to win, so my expectation of this race for ESM and Patrón is to win.”
“It is great to be back with ESM for some of the endurance races. Not only is the Rolex a major event, it kicks off the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. I’m thrilled to be a part of the No. 2 team driving with Ed, Johannes and Simon. We have a talented group of drivers that are smart racers. We hope to contend for the win, but anything can happen at the Rolex.
“There are several key factors to prepare for this event – mentally and physically. We have a solid driver lineup and I think we’ll be well rested and prepared for our stints. Another valuable element for the Rolex 24 is information. For a race with so many variables I found it important to gather as much information from the team, teammates, or videos from previous years to prepare myself.