Lineup includes four Rolex winners – Sharp, Dalziel, Brabham and Lazzaro
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 and in the highly-competitive prototype class.
Led by ESM team owner Scott Sharp, the Florida-based team spent much of the offseason 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.
As the opening event for the inaugural TUDOR Championship season, the Rolex 24 At Daytona is also the first round of the four-race Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup (NAEC). The Tequila Patrón-sponsored championship within a championship includes the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March, Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in June and the season finale Petit Le Mans in October. Watch as Brown and Sharp talk about the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance here.
The Rolex 24 – a twice-around-the-clock-classic – takes place on the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 25-26. The 12-turn circuit utilizes portions of the track’s tri-oval and infield road course and is the first round of the TUDOR Championship. Qualifying for prototype cars is scheduled for 4:50 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jan. 23.
The FOX family of channels will provide complete live coverage of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Saturday, Jan. 25
2-4 p.m. ET on FOX
4-9 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2
Overnight (Jan. 25-26)
9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ET on www.IMSA.com
Sunday, Jan. 26
7 a.m. – 3 p.m. on FOX Sports 1
Live streaming of the Rolex 24 At Daytona also will be available on the FOX Sports GO mobile application for iOS devices.
Radio and internet listeners can tune into Motor Racing Network for flag-to-flag coverage of the Rolex 24 At Daytona along with 12 races in the inaugural TUDOR Championship. All Motor Racing Network races also are streamed live at www.MRN.com. Live coverage of the Rolex 24 At Daytona also can be heard on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (channel 90) starting at 2 pm ET. The entire TUDOR Championship season can be heard on Sirius channel 117.
“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 entire team has been flat out since Petit Le Mans in October. I want to thank them all for the huge effort that has enabled us to be in this position for the start of the season. We made this transition to the prototype cars about one year ago and I’m thrilled with our progress and can’t wait to see how the program grows and excels.
“We have great drivers, very well-prepared cars and just need to run a clean, smooth, trouble-free race and we will be in very good shape as lunch time approaches on Sunday.”
“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.
“I’m looking forward to the Rolex 24 with our two ESM Tequila Patrón prototypes. For the last two seasons at the Rolex, we’ve only had one car with the four drivers, so this is a refreshing change at Daytona. We have two teams working together on setup and race strategy. Then you put seven of the most passionate and winning drivers in a room together to discuss driving strategy and techniques – we’ve assembled one of the strongest groups of drivers, engineers and crews.
“There are nearly 70 cars in this race and it should be a great show for the fans. From behind the wheel to watching my teammates from the sidelines, traffic will be a major factor. In the Roar practice days, it was impossible to get a clean lap, so whatever car wins will have managed traffic the best! I’m looking forward to this event.”
“It is a bit difficult to plan for the Rolex because there are many variables. You can always prepare of the ‘knowns’ like fitness and practice, but the ‘unknowns’ are what you can’t control and often in big races like this, that’s the toughest challenge.
“Even though there are the variables, you have to take the race one stint at a time. With so many racers from different paths coming together for this huge event, it takes some time for everyone to find their groove. You have to be somewhat cautious to begin with and very much run your own race. If anyone makes mistakes within a team it can be very costly. The best approach is always working at 99 percent with no mistakes, than 101 percent with mistakes.
“Winning at Daytona, no matter what year, is very special. But this year holds something extra. I finished second overall in the 50th Anniversary race. But it would mean so much more to see one of the ESM Patrón cars win the race because it is the Rolex and opening round of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.
“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
“Daytona is such a monumental undertaking that it’s best consumed in small bites hour by hour. It seems that you’re doing laps by yourself for 22 hours. In the last two hours, however, it turns into a sprint to the finish with whoever is left standing.
“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.”
“Since I’ve competed in more than 20 races that are 24 hours in length, I know what to expect. The main thing is to just focus on what I have to do well and do it, and the rest will sort itself out.
“When I’m racing, I’m focused on my race. As the driver you are in charge, so the best way I manage my time in the car during a long race like the Rolex 24 is to stay in the moment and race corner by corner.
“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.”
“I’m really looking forward to the TUDOR Championship season and the start of a new era of sports car racing. Plus I’m racing for one of the best teams and sponsors in the garage with ESM and Tequila Patrón.
“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.
“I’ve had my share of success at the Rolex 24 and know what it takes to win an event like this. The engineers and crew have been non-stop since the team transitioned into these prototype cars early last year. When you combine the drivers, the team and all the work the team has done, ESM and Tequila Patrón has one of the best chances for an overall victory at 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.”
“What makes this event unique is that you always race to whatever the car is capable of doing. In sports car racing, traffic is a huge factor and how much risk you take in traffic is always a balance of where you are in the field/class and what the goals of the team and co-drivers.
“Both of the ESM Patrón team both cars have a good shot at winning the class. As to the overall win, it is too early to say with the new regulations. My plan is to extract the best out of the situation and our car and then we will see where that puts us in the end.
“One of the assets we have at the Rolex is having a very reliable HPD race car. It is nimble and agile, and that will suit the infield. Now with the regulations the way they are, the straight lines won’t be our advantage. It should be a very competitive compromise.”