Sakhir, Bahrain – Nov. 23, 2015 – Tequila Patrón ESM wrapped up its first full season of FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) competition last weekend. The American team finished eighth in ninth in LMP2 during the season finale 6 Hours of Bahrain.
Scott Sharp, Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek, Ryan Dalziel, Jon Fogarty and David Heinemeier Hansson entered the 2015 FIA WEC season knowing it would be a learning year and this weekend’s race in Bahrain was no different.
Five of the six black and Patrón green clad drivers competed for the first time at the Middle Eastern track. The team anticipated it would be learning and exploring weekend and altered the strategy to ensure both cars finished the race.
Tire management was key to Saturday’s race and the team was able to manage its tires against the rough Bahrain International Circuit surface. However, both cars suffered broken left rear suspension rockers during the six-hour event.
At the three-hour mark of the race Fogarty, co-driver of the No. 31 Tequila Patrón ESM Ligier JS P2 Honda, limped the race car to the pits to repair the rocker. The pit crew quickly replaced the rocker, rear wing and changed the tires. Fogarty returned to the circuit to complete his stint.
Less than an hour later and in fifth place, Sharp, co-driver of the No. 30 Tequila Patrón ESM Ligier JS P2 Honda, experienced the same broken rocker. He pitted and the crew replaced the rocker, rear wing and tires.
At the end of the six-hour race, Dalziel finished the race in eighth place for the No. 30 team and Brown finished in ninth for the No. 31.
The six drivers competed with three different chassis in 10 races all over the world. Most of the venues were new to the team and drivers, yet they persevered through each event. Although the team closes its 2015 chapter without a podium, it was a winning season for the Florida-based team.
As the lone American two-car LMP2 team, the team used every lap or every race weekend to learn the circuit, but learn and manage the race car. Now with its first FIA WEC season complete, the team looks forward to 2016.
On Friday, November 20, Tequila Patrón ESM announced an operational and technical partnership with OAK Racing.
The drivers and crew now head home to the United States. In 145 days, Tequila Patrón ESM will compete at the 2016 FIA WEC season opening race at Silverstone. But before then, the team will move its European headquarters from England to France and compete in the first two rounds of the WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship races – the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.
View the video recap: Tequila Patrón ESM Finishes WEC Season in Bahrain
“We had a pretty good race and were running fifth and gaining on fourth. We were in a good spot and unfortunately had a left rear rocker break. I had to go very slow back to the pits; otherwise we could have damaged the bottom of the car. In about five or six minutes the crew guys changed it, but by then we lost three or four laps. In the WEC, it is really tough to make those laps back.
“This weekend epitomized our year, but we learned a lot. The guys have not stopped working and have given 110 percent effort. We know we are paving the way for 2016.”
Johannes van Overbeek
“It was a rough day; sort of encapsulates our entire year. Both cars struggled with pace and a part failure, but ESM Patrón never quit. Jon and Ed did a great job as usual. It’s been a phenomenal season of traveling and seeing new tracks and meeting new people. I feel very fortunate.”
David Heinemeier Hansson
“It’s a testament to how much fun the Bahrain track is in drive in my final stint with ESM. It was still enjoyable and driving on the edge of grip. I wish the team all the best next year.”