Q & A with Johannes Van Overbeek
Johannes van Overbeek, one of the world's top independent Porsche drivers, is targeting a new challenge for 2010, having joined Extreme Speed Motorsports, for which he will race a Ferrari F430 GT in the upcoming American Le Mans Series. He discusses how preparations for the all-new team owned by Scott Sharp are progressing.
What has the team been doing recently to prepare for its first year in the American Le Mans Series?
“Currently, we are in the process of building a new team headquarters in Florida, and our team owner, Scott, has been hard at it for more than a month. I have seen a few photos and it is really going to be something amazing.”
You have been with the Flying Lizard Motorsports team since its groundbreaking. What is it like to go through this experience with Extreme Speed Motorsports?
“Yes, it is true. I was with [Flying Lizard] since the very, very beginning, so I am well aware of all the hard work that Scott and Derek (Granison) have done and need to continue to do going forward. They have done an exceptional job putting all the pieces together – with building the shop, the car and organizing a team of people. Most fans only see the shiny cars that go around the racetrack, but there is a huge amount of pieces that have to be properly put into place.”
In your ALMS career, you have piloted Porsches and BMWs. This will be the first time in a Ferrari. Is there a lot of excitement surrounding learning a new car?
“I have to say that I am going to be sad not being able to work with all the friends I've made at Porsche in recent years, but I am excited to meet new friends in Ferrari. I look forward to this new challenge and couldn't be happier to join Extreme, Scott, Ed (Brown), and Guy (Cosmo), and having Patrón a part of the project. I am excited about 2010.”
What about your new teammates – are you familiar yet with their driving styles and preferences?
“I was around Scott, Ed and Guy a lot last year during the American Le Mans Series season, but haven't driven with any of them before.”
In 2009, you won the ALMS' Michelin GreenX Challenge award. Has Extreme Speed Motorsports also been showing signs of embracing the green initiatives of the series?
“I felt honored to win the first annual Michelin GreenX Challenge Challenge award. At Extreme Speed Motorsports, we want to operate everything as efficiently as possible because there is a time and money component as well as the desire to be a good steward of the earth.
“From my position, I will certainly work toward being as efficient as possible while improving our impact on the earth as much as we can and without sacrificing any performance. It's nice because the two are really linked together – there is a synergy. You can't really do one without the other.”
Will you be at the Winter Test at Sebring?
“Our team will be there. It will be a great time to fine-tune our internal processes to allow us to be as competitive as we can possibly be.”