ESM Patrón Finishes Third in Debut FIA WEC Race
Austin, Texas – Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) battled the world, the elements and the competition tonight during its debut race in the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) – the 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas. In the end, ESM earned its first podium finish in FIA WEC competition. The Tequila Patrón-sponsored team finished third in the LMP2 class and 10th overall.
Scott Sharp, Ed Brown and Ryan Dalziel – co-drivers of the No. 30 Tequila Patrón Honda Performance Development ARX-03b (HPD) – were thrown a plethora of new challenges during their maiden FIA WEC race and podium result. Despite the challenges, the team posted some of the quickest laps of the LMP2 class and led the class at three different segments of the race.
Dalziel started the race from the third position. In the opening minutes, Dalziel advanced to second. Approximately 30 minutes into the race, the LMP2 race leader spun and Dalziel assumed the class lead. He completed his hour-long stint and transferred driving duties to Sharp.
Sharp entered the field from the third position following a scheduled driver change. Less than an hour into his stint, Sharp regained the LMP2 lead. Then Mother Nature decided it was time to join the race. Sharp pitted for rain tires. As he was leaving the pit lane, the rain continued and turned torrential. The rain frequency and intensity grew and series officials red-flagged the race. Sharp was stopped at the exit of pit road and due to timing and scoring.
FIA WEC series officials halted the race for approximately 55 minutes shortly after several cars went careening off track. Once the track was believed to be safe, the race resumed under caution. Several laps later, the race returned to green.
A combination of nearly losing a lap from the red flag and racing on rain tires with a drying track, Sharp lost valuable lap time and track positions. That issue was remedied when he pitted for a scheduled driver change back to Dalziel and new tires.
Dalziel returned to the race in the fifth position. The 3.427-mile, 20-turn had pockets of wet and dry sections and the team opted to run Dalziel on the dry tires. Dalziel charged to the front and paced the LMP2 class. He was leading and pitted for Brown to race his stint.
With less than an hour-and-a-half on the race clock, Brown logged his first laps of the race. The race car began to experience some issues and the team determined it was in the driveline. Brown was instructed to maintain his pace. He had enough of a lead on the fourth place car to maintain position and run at a reduced pace.
Brown completed his stint and race to capture ESM and Tequila Patrón first podium in FIA WEC competition.
On Saturday morning, Extreme Speed Motorsports announced its entry into the FIA WEC 6 Hours of Shanghai. The Florida-based team entered both its Tequila Patrón-sponsored HPD prototypes in the LMP2 class for the Nov. 2 race at China’s Shanghai International Circuit. In order to prepare both Tequila Patrón-sponsored HPDs to meet FIA WEC regulations, ESM will not compete in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s season finale – Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in October.
“We entered the FIA WEC race to get a podium. It was a great learning experience for us. We were dealt all kinds of issues and hurdles today. The team jumped them all and we got our podium.
“Ed and Ryan did a great job, and everybody hung together. We had some issues at the end, and Ed had some additional responsibilities in the car above and beyond driving. All in all, we accomplished everything we wanted to this weekend. A win would have been a bonus, but we’ll take third place tonight.
“That rain was a torrential downpour and one of the worst conditions I’ve ever driven in. Luckily I was able to keep in on the track. I pitted, we switched to rain tires, I left the pit box and then they red-flagged the race. We got stuck at the end of pit lane and that almost cost us a lap. We went out on rain tires. We wanted to go on the intermediate tires but didn’t have the portable system to change the tires down on pit lane. We were stuck on the rains and I burned through those in about 10 laps. Then we nearly lost another lap with me sliding around on the tires, 20 seconds off the pace. Once we got my tires changed and Ryan going in his stint, we were on the right pace.
“I’m proud of the entire ESM Tequila Patrón team. They put a tremendous effort into this race and this weekend.”
“It probably wasn’t the dream day that we had planned in the beginning. I think we had a lot thrown at us and the team did great preserving through it all – from rain to the red flag. Scott did a great job keeping the car on the track. Ryan ran a great couple of stints. He went out there when it was still wet with slick tires on and really moved us back up. We had some good luck and then some really bad luck. I was worried the last couple of laps, but we finished in third. This is great for ESM and Tequila Patrón to get a podium in our first FIA WEC race.”
“It was a great day. We came in here with a focus to get a podium. We had some ups and downs, and the team overcame some problems. We deserved to have a podium tonight. We’re really looking forward to Shanghai now.
“Once we were out in clean air, the car was really quick. We definitely felt that we had the speed to pull away. We got caught in the pits when it rained and we lost some time. That’s why we are here, to gain experience in FIA WEC.
“On the other side of it we feel we executed everything right. This is about learning. I’m proud of the whole team. This was a good result for Tequila Patrón and ESM. Now let’s go to Shanghai and prove that we can run up front and win.”