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Apr 08, 2014 - 08:34 PM
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ESM Patron Seeks Long Beach Repeat
Posted by: newsla on Apr 08, 2014 - 08:32 PM
USCR News
ESM Patron Seeks Long Beach Repeat


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.

 

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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.

In addition to the tires, the TUDOR Championship field is smaller in 2014 because two classes of cars will compete during Saturday’s race, compared to the four classes at the two previous races this year. The TUDOR field is slated to have 22 entrants – 12 prototypes and 10 GT Le Mans cars. Traffic is always a factor at Long Beach but with a smaller field of two professional classes, the racing will be intense.

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.

SCOTT SHARP
“I am super excited to bring our Tequila Patrón HPD prototypes back to Long Beach - the pre-eminent street circuit for more than 25 years and one of my favorites on the schedule.

“It is an aggressive 100-minute ‘take no prisoners’ sprint race. You sometimes only get one chance to make a pass so you have to go for it when you can. When you combine the excitement of the race with the fantastic Long Beach crowd and Tequila Patrón’s sponsorship of the race, to say we are ready to hit the streets and go after that win – that’s an understatement. We’ll be flat out all weekend and we’re all looking forward to getting back to Long Beach.

“ESM has a great couple of years at Long Beach and we’re planning on keeping that tradition this weekend.”

ED BROWN
“Long Beach is always a great race. I’m looking forward to the race this after our 1-2 finish last year. It's also fantastic that Tequila Patrón is the title sponsor of the race and that adds a little more pressure on ESM to perform.

“The new unknown for us at Long Beach is how the tires will perform and what the balance of power is like. The PC cars outran us last year and the DPs have way more power than the PCs, so anything can happen.

“But it will be a blast. We will have a great group of Patrón VIPs with us this weekend. The combination of our guests, race cars, team, good weather and one of the great street courses in the world equals a ‘Simply Perfect’ race!”

RYAN DALZIEL
“I love Long Beach. It’s a really special place for me because I made my U.S., racing debut at Long Beach back in 2002, plus it always falls on or around my birthday. Long Beach is a great city with an amazing atmosphere, so any chance to race there is really cool.

“ESM had a 1-2 finish in 2013, and I won at Long Beach in 2012, so I think we have some momentum for a good result.

“One of the reasons I wanted to race in the USA was the awesome street courses and none are better than Long Beach. Traffic will be a factor like all of our races but with only two classes and the new IMSA rules, I think this race will come down to the team that has the best pit stops and the fastest car.

“We were so close at Sebring and I think we all still feel we were robbed of the win, so we are going into Long Beach with a winning mindset. Tequila Patrón is the race sponsor so we obviously want to be on the podium and proudly show our supporters once again that we are going to be contenders each and every race in 2014.”

JOHANNES VAN OVERBEEK
“As a third generation Californian, I look forward to the Long Beach race every year and this year with Ed in the No. 2 car is no different.

“Ed and I finished second last year with a real shot at winning so our expectations are high. The ESM/Patrón HPD cars showed their pace at Sebring and we're hoping the pace with transfer to Long Beach. However, the slower corners aren't our strong suit, but with smart driving and excellent ESM pit work, one of our cars should be in the mix at the end.

“It'll be nice having a largely pro field this year at Long Beach since the pro-am cars aren't running this year. I expect the racing to be fierce but with fewer yellows per hour than we saw at Daytona and Sebring as a result. Let's get started!”

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