Florida-based Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) heads to one of the greatest sports car races in the world and the true test of man and machine during this weekend’s 51st running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Equipped with the Tequila Patrón engineering and pit crew, the dynamic quartet of drivers has their sights set on Daytona glory.
“The off season went by quick but everyone at ESM is very excited to kick things off again this year," stated team principal Scott Sharp. "We developed strong momentum over the last half of 2012 and are very eager to continue to build on that through all of 2013 and that starts at the Rolex 24!"
Set to attack the field among the other 35 competitors in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT class, the driver lineup includes ESM driver/owner Scott Sharp and racers Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek. The fourth driver aboard the No. 03 Tequila Patrón Ferrari 458 Italia is Mike Hedlund. During the 2012 season, Hedlund competed in the No. 03 machine during the endurance racing events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Watkins Glen.
“After learning so much racing with ESM in 2012, there was no doubt in my mind the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona was not only the perfect place to put into practice all that I've learned but to also continue my development as a driver" stated Hedlund. "Scott, Johannes and Ed have so much experience that I’m able to learn inside and outside of the car. It is an honor and privilege to share a car with them for 24 hours. One that I won’t let go to waste!"
The ESM drivers and crew eagerly approach both their partial GRAND-AM and full American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patrón seasons before the two merge into one at the start of the 2014 season. In addition to competing in this weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona, the ESM crew and drivers Sharp, van Overbeek, Brown and Guy Cosmo will participate in the ALMS Winter test session at Sebring International Raceway in February.
“The Rolex always has a great car count from so many manufactures and a stellar list of drivers and teams on the track" added driver Ed Brown. "As a driver, this level of competition where drivers from all forms of racing are on the track at the same time – this is you look forward to – racing against the best of the best in motorsports."
ESM will participate in the two practice sessions on Thursday, Jan. 24, followed by qualifying at 4:10 p.m. (ET). The final practice takes place on Friday, Jan. 25. On Saturday afternoon at 12:15 p.m. (ET), the ESM drivers will participate in the Rolex Driver autograph session in the Sprint FanZone. Green flag for the race is on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 3:30 p.m. (ET).
The 51st running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Jan. 26. Coverage from the twice around the clock endurance event from Daytona International Speedway is scheduled at 3:00 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Jan. 26, and 9:00 a.m. (ET) on SPEED.
“My favorite part of the Rolex is the midnight and early morning hours. It's surreal to be driving 180 miles an hour when most others are fast asleep," van Overbeek added. "There's a calm rhythm during that part of the race that I've grown to appreciate.”
Tickets for the Rolex 24 At Daytona are available online or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Tent camping, only for the Rolex 24, is still available outside Turns 1 & 2 in the GEICO Park West Lot for just $20. Live timing and scoring is available online or on a mobile device .
The West Palm Beach Motorsports Examiner will be at this year's event, and hopes to bring you, the readers, a bit more insight into the race, it's drivers, and teams.
Be sure to subscribe to the West Palm Beach Motorsports Examiner, and keep track of your favorite racers. If you're a motorsports fan, and know of an event, team, or person you'd like to see profiled, please let me know. Also, be sure to follow me on twitter, and read my articles about local getaways, HOAs, elections, and restaurants.