Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) raced to podium finishes at the 2012 and 2013 American Le Mans Series races held at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. This year, the team looks to conquer The Kink and ride The Carousel all the way to the podium during Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, the ninth round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Road America, situated halfway between Milwaukee and Green Bay, is the longest circuit on the TUDOR Championship calendar. The 4.048-mile, 14-turn permanent road course is a favorite of race car drivers, teams and road racing fans alike. One year ago, the ALMS and GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series teams shared the paddock. This year the teams will share both the paddock and the race circuit vying for the title of event champion in the first-year unified championship.
Looking to make another mark in team history following its 1-2 qualifying effort at Indianapolis, ESM still seeks its first double-podium of the season. The team has shown speed and performance in the last round of competition by posting some of the quickest laps of the race. With the right combination of speed, patience and strategy, that 1-2 finish is on the horizon.
In his last two appearances at Road America, Scott Sharp, co-driver of the No. 1 Tequila HPD has two podium finishes in the professional prototype and GT classes. In 2012, Sharp and co-driver Johannes van Overbeek earned a third-place finish in the GT class; last year, Sharp was the runner-up in the prototype class. Using that pattern, Sharp’s target for this race is that top step on the podium. Sharp has two previous wins at Road America – in 2008 and 2009 with then co-driver David Brabham in the Tequila Patrón-sponsored Acura LMP2 and LMP1 race cars.
“The entire ESM/Tequila Patrón team is very excited to get back to Road America! It’s such a thrilling track," stated Sharp.
Fresh off a Pirelli World Challenge weekend sweep at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Ryan Dalziel has winning on his mind heading into Road America. The Scotsman has six previous starts at the circuit – one in open wheel and five sports car races. He was the runner-up in 2012 GRAND-AM race and expects to see that top step with co-driver Sharp.
“Road America is one of the best race tracks in North America and has some of the best sports car fans in the world," Dalziel added. "We have been knocking on the door to victory the past couple races and we have lots of momentum after ESM swept the front row in qualifying at Indy. We were surprised by our speed at Indy, so hopefully we can surprise ourselves again. Road America may be an uphill battle for us and somewhere we don’t expect to have the lap time advantage over the DPs."
Road America was unkind to Ed Brown and co-driver van Overbeek last year. The race ended early for the Brown/van Overbeek team with an on-board fire. Looking for a bit of redemption, the No. 2 Tequila Patrón HPD team looks to start from the front of the field and finish in that same position.
“I’m really looking forward to Road America this week," commented Brown. "It's one of the greatest tracks in North America!"
The two-hour, 45-minute TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Continental Tire Road Race Showcase on Aug 8-10 is the ninth race of 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Qualifying for prototype cars takes place at 5:25 p.m. CT on Saturday, Aug 9. Live qualifying coverage at 4:20 p.m. ET Friday on IMSA.com.
Green flag is 1:15 p.m. CT on Sunday, Aug 10. Television coverage of the Road Race Showcase starts at 6:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.