Scott Sharp's Extreme Speed Motorsports and backer Tequila Patrón will field two Honda Performance Development ARX-03b prototypes in a full-season championship run, starting with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring next month. The team also plans to field entries in the combined prototype class of the 2014 unified sports car championship.
“Moving to P2 is a new chapter for us at ESM and a homecoming for Tequila Patrón,” said team owner/driver Sharp. “We feel we have a terrific opportunity to learn and develop the P2 car this year, and that will put us in an ideal position going into the merged season of 2014!”
The ESM driver lineup remains the same with Sharp and Johannes van Overbeek co-driving the No. 01 Tequila Patrón racing machine, and Ed Brown and Guy Cosmo in the sister No. 02 Tequila Patrón prototype. ESM will continue to run on Michelin tires during the 2013 season. In addition, ESM will campaign a Ferrari 458 Italia in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series GT class and the Ferrari Challenge.
“This is a tremendously positive development for our 2013 prototype grid,” said Scott Atherton, ALMS president and CEO. “It is another example of Tequila Patrón's commitment to the American Le Mans Series and the future of sports car racing in North America.
"Both Extreme Speed Motorsports and Patrón's presence in our P2 class this year – along with their plans for the 2014 combined prototype category – bolster the level of competition in our championship," Atherton added. "We believe that this development will be a catalyst that attracts other P2 competitors in 2013 and into the future. We congratulate Scott Sharp, Ed Brown and everyone at Extreme Speed Motorsports and Tequila Patrón on this advancement, and we wish them nothing but the best of luck in their P2 efforts.”
The announcement comes on the heels of ESM's best season to date where Sharp and van Overbeek finished second in the GT championship in 2012, which included victories at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Petit Le Mans.
Sharp returns to prototype racing where he won the ALMS LMP1 championship in 2009 aboard the Patrón Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-02a prototype (ABOVE) with co-driver David Brabham. The pairing also won four times in Acura's P2 car during the 2008 ALMS season. Sharp's co-driver van Overbeek is new to the P2 class but has amassed more than 100 ALMS starts and expects to be up to speed quickly in the new black and green racing machine.
Racing in the P2 class will be new to Brown, who eagerly supports Tequila Patrón's return to prototype sports car racing with the goal of earning podium finishes and setting the foundation for a championship run during the 2014 combined sports car series. Brown will leverage the knowledge of co-driver Cosmo during the 2013 season. Like Sharp, Cosmo is a former P2 race-winner with a 2005 victory in a Mazda-powered prototype.
“I'm really looking forward to seeing Tequila Patrón back on a prototype car this season, especially from behind the wheel of one,” said Brown, ESM co-principal. “We're excited for the future. I think the team evolved so quickly in the GT ranks that we did things in the category that we never thought were possible against the factory teams. We just felt like this was the next best step as a team to move forward, race in P2s and really take that forward into the new series next year.”