Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) checked another box off its list this weekend at Sebring – lead laps in the new Tequila Patrón-sponsored Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b racing machines. Scott Sharp and co-driver Guy Cosmo led laps during the opening half of the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 16, 2013– an impressive feat since the No. 01 Tequila Patrón HPD was completed less than one week ago.
With ESM team owner Sharp behind the wheel, the No. 01 Tequila Patrón HPD was listed as the P2 class leader a mere two hours and nine minutes (approximately 12:54 p.m.) into the race. Sharp led until 1:23 p.m. and then retook the lead at 1:27 p.m.
“One week ago this car wasn’t even put together," stated Sharp. To be out here at Sebring leading laps and leading the race, I didn’t foresee that this soon. We’re just scratching the surface with this new program.”
Sharp turned the No. 01 Tequila Patrón over to Cosmo approximately three and an half hours into the race. Cosmo led laps in the No. 01 machine and dominated the competition for his two hour stint.
“We led laps at Sebring and I’m thrilled that the team was able to put this entire program in less than three weeks," Cosmo added. "It was pretty remarkable. We had conservative expectations this weekend. We showed great pace and managed traffic well."
As scheduled, the ESM Tequila Patrón team pitted and David Brabham climbed back into the race car for his second stint of the race. With less than three laps competed in his first stint, Brabham heard a loud boom and stopped in turn 11.
After getting a tow back to the pit, the ESM crew and HPD engineers determined the No. 01 machine suffered from a broken input shaft that was sheared at the gearbox. The ESM team went to work and replaced the input shaft which enabled the drivers and race car to return to competition.
The No. 01 Tequila Patrón HPD returned to the race circuit at 6:36 p.m., approximately two hours and 15 minutes since Brabham was stopped on track.
The No. 02 Tequila Patrón HPD started in the fifth position and maintained pace with the P2 competition. The No. 02, co-driven by Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek and Anthony Lazzaro, battled the competition during the opening half of the race. A few off-track incidents and minor repairs in the pits put the team slightly off its expected pace. At the mid-point of the race, the No. 02 was running fourth in the P2 class.
The 2013 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón began with the 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida on Mar. 11-16. Green flag for the 12 Hours of Sebring was at 10:45 a.m. ET on Saturday, Mar. 16. SPEED's live coverage began at 10:30 a.m. ET.
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