Daytona Beach, Fla., Jan. 11, 2015 – Tequila Patrón ESM logged the first miles of its 2015 season this weekend at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 preseason test at Daytona International Speedway. The three-day test marked the public debut of the all-new Honda Performance Development ARX-04b (HPD) coupe in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series.
Scott Sharp, Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek, Ryan Dalziel, Jon Fogarty and David Heinemeier Hansson shared driving duties of the carbon fiber black No. 2 Tequila Patrón HPD coupe. The No. 2 machine will be driven by Brown, van Overbeek and Fogarty in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup races of the TUDOR Championship.
The first HPD coupe was delivered to Tequila Patrón ESM in December 2014. Since then, the Florida-based team worked non-stop to ensure the racing machine was ready to go for the first test session of 2015. While the team was in Daytona this weekend, the second coupe, the No. 1 Tequila Patrón machine, was delivered. Splitting the team between on-track action and vehicle build at the shop, Tequila Patrón ESM still made tremendous gains with both cars.
The team’s performance improved with each test session, and made considerable progress in getting a feel for the new race car. Light rain during Sunday morning’s session gave the team the option to run several laps in the rain and test the ARX-04b’s wet weather systems and capabilities.
The season-opening Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona takes place January 24-25. Before Tequila Patrón ESM returns to Daytona, the team will focus on the next major steps in preparation for the upcoming endurance race, including data review from this week’s test, making appropriate changes to the No. 2 coupe, completing the No. 1 coupe and finishing the livery on both cars.
On Tuesday, Sharp and Brown head to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to participate in the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) press conference.
For the 2015 season, the Tequila Patrón ESM team has submitted two entries to the FIA WEC, along with the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup races of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
“We’re still getting used to the new coupe, but we know what’s needed to be ready for the Rolex 24 and the rest of the 2015 season. We made some big strides in the No. 2 this weekend. These coupes are going to be good. We received the second car this week while at the Roar test and the guys worked on that car all weekend.
“I’m looking forward to racing with Jon as a teammate. He’s a great guy and fits in well with the team. He’s super-fast in the car and was up to speed quick. It should be a great season with Jon and Johannes as co-drivers.
“Scott and I are headed to Detroit on Tuesday for the FIA WEC press conference. We’ll talk about our commitment to them and how excited we are to be racing with them this year.
“This is going to be a great year for Tequila Patrón ESM. We see the potential in these coupes. We’re eager to get the 2015 season under way.”
Johannes van Overbeek
“We took the Tequila Patrón ESM HPD coupe out this morning and waited until it rained, which is not usually the case. The car had never been in wet weather before, so we just did a few runs to see if there were any leaks, if it fogged and how the mirrors reacted in those conditions. We learned a lot in a few laps and achieved our objective.
“I drove in the dry and wet and the new coupe is great. We have one car this weekend with six drivers, so everyone was able to drive. I feel like I’m learning more about the car and what it likes. It is going to be a great car once we have everything sorted out.
“The coupe feels more refined than last year’s car. The faster you go the quieter and more stable this car is and that speaks to the aerodynamic work that Wirth Research has done on the design. It feels stable and great to drive. I’m really looking forward to this season in the new coupe.”
“My time in the car was brief, but that was to be expected with the six of us driving one car. I think we did a really good job getting everyone through the car and comfortable. We made the most of the weekend. It was good to get behind the wheel and I was instantly comfortable ergonomically in the car. I’m still adapting; it is different from what I’ve been racing the last several years. I’m comfortable and that makes getting up to speed easy.
“Working with the team has been great. I feel very at home with Tequila Patrón ESM, driving with Ed and Johannes alongside Scott, Ryan and David.
“It was good to have the miles put on the No. 2 car and get familiar co-driving with Johannes and Ed. We still have driver change practice and the other logistical items to sort through. Everyone is very amicable and easy to get along with on the team. It is great to be back with Johannes and working with Ed is going to be great. Every time I see that No. 2 car, I feel pretty ecstatic and happy that I get to drive it.
“Thanks to everyone on the team; they’ve been slammed building both of these cars. We saw the other chassis here this weekend and the guys constantly working on that car. These Tequila Patrón ESM crew guys are awesome. Big thanks to the crew for their efforts this weekend and getting these cars ready for 2015.”