Tequila Patrón ESM Set for 6 Hours of Silverstone Debut
- 08 April 2015
Two-car American team begins 2015 FIA WEC adventure in England
Riviera Beach, Fla., – Tequila Patrón ESM begins its second chapter of the 2015 motorsports season this weekend for the season-opening FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) race. The 6 Hours of Silverstone takes place Sunday, April 12, near the Northamptonshire villages of Silverstone and Whittlebury, approximately two hours northwest of London.
Tequila Patrón ESM had its taste of WEC competition in 2014. As America’s only two-car LMP2 effort slated to compete in the full 2015 WEC season, the Florida-based team looks to continue where it left off last season. In two previous WEC appearances, Tequila Patrón ESM earned a third-place finish at the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas and then a runner-up finish during the 6 Hours of Shanghai.
Armed with five world-class drivers representing the United States, Scotland and Denmark, Tequila Patrón ESM is ready to race in one of the most prestigious events on the motorsports calendar. A roster of more than 20 team members will be at Silverstone this weekend preparing the prototypes for the start of Tequila Patrón ESM’s worldwide motorsports season.
While competing in the WEC this year, Tequila Patrón ESM established its home away from home in Great Bookham. Shortly after the WEC Prologue preseason test at Paul Ricard in France, Tequila Patrón ESM headed back to England and set up its remote headquarters just south of London near Woking.
Ryan Dalziel, of Coatbridge, Scotland, grew up racing in the United Kingdom. The Scotsman competed in the British Formula development series and earned championship runner-up honors in the British Formula Vauxhall Championship (1999) and British Formula Renault Championship (2000). He then competed in the British Formula Three Championship with a season-best fourth place finish at the British Grand Prix International Invitation Race.
Two Tequila Patrón ESM crew members also hail from the United Kingdom. Team manager Tone Leith is from Oxford, England, while gearbox specialist Noel Flannery calls Edinburgh, Scotland as his home.
Tequila Patrón Silver at Silverstone
The black and Patrón green Honda Performance Development ARX-03b prototypes are liveried with Tequila Patrón Silver bottle decals, representing the ultra-premium flagship brand. The car featuring the Tequila Patrón Silver decals should feel at home on the 3.652-mile, 20-turn Silverstone circuit. It would be fitting to see the Patrón Silver prototypes, liveried with the perfect high-end white spirit, in its rightful place on the top shelf and atop the Silverstone podium.
Scott Sharp, Dalziel and David Heinemeier Hansson will co-drive the No. 30 Tequila Patrón ESM HPD ARX-03b. Both Dalziel and Heinemeier Hansson have podium finishes at Silverstone. Dalziel finished second in the same HPD ARX-03b powered by a Honda 2.8-liter twin turbo V6 when he raced with Starworks Motorsports in 2012 – the same year Dalziel raced to the LMP2 WEC championship title. Heinemeier Hansson won the 2014 GTE-AM race and finished second in 2013 in the LMP2 class.
Driver/owner Sharp might be the “WEC rookie” of the No. 30 lineup but his championship-loaded résumé proves otherwise. Sharp holds several drivers championships including three consecutive Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) titles (1986-1998), two SCCA Trans-Am titles and one American Le Mans Series (ALMS) LMP1 Championship title that he earned with then co-driver David Brabham. Sharp is also the 1996 Indy Racing League co-champion.
Ed Brown and Jon Fogarty, co-drivers of the No. 31 Tequila Patrón ESM HPD ARX-03b, are making their Silverstone debuts this weekend. In his nine years of American sports car racing, Fogarty has two championship titles (2007 and 2009), 16 wins, 54 podium finishes and 30 pole positions.
Johannes van Overbeek, the third season-long co-driver of the No. 31 machine, was slated to compete, but a broken rib has sidelined the Californian. Unable to travel, van Overbeek was looking forward to making his second appearance at Silverstone. He first competed at Silverstone in 2000 with the American Le Mans Series. A replacement driver will be announced.
In their last WEC race, Brown and van Overbeek finished fourth during the 6 Hours of Shanghai in November. Brown recently participated in the Prologue pre-season test and is eager to return to the LMP2 field this year. Brown and van Overbeek carry a win with the HPD ARX-03b with them into Silverstone. The duo earned their first pole and win during the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – van Overbeek’s home track.
Tequila Patrón ESM Honda Performance Development ARX-03b (HPD) prototypes
Last season marked the second year of Tequila Patrón ESM running the ARX-03b chassis. In 21 races with the ARX-03b prototypes, Tequila Patrón ESM earned two wins (Long Beach 2013 and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 2014), four pole positions and 16 podiums. In March, Tequila Patrón ESM and Honda Performance Development mutually agreed that it would be competitively advantageous to run the ARX-03b at Sebring and Silverstone while the ARX-04b coupe continued development.
Beginning with the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, Tequila Patrón ESM will compete in two Tequila Patrón-sponsored Ligier J2 P2, closed LMP2 sport-prototypes designed by Onroak Automotive.
Tequila Patrón ESM on Track
Friday’s two free practice sessions start at 11:55 a.m. and 3:55 p.m. British Summer Time (BST), and 6:55 a.m. and 10:55 a.m. ET.
Saturday’s on-track activity includes the hour-long practice session starting at 9 a.m. BST/4 a.m. ET.
LMP2 qualifying begins at 12:30 p.m. BST/7:30 a.m. ET on Saturday.
Green flag for the 6 Hours of Silverstone takes place at noon BST/7 a.m. ET on Sunday.
Where to Watch
The 6 Hours of Silverstone will be televised globally and on the FOX Sports Network of channels. The race can also be viewed via the FIA WEC second screen app or online at www.fiawec.com.
The race can be heard live on Radio Le Mans at www.radiolemans.com.
About Tequila Patrón ESM
Founded in 2010, Tequila Patrón ESM is one of the premier sportscar teams in the world. Tequila Patrón ESM’s record includes two GT wins with the Ferrari Italia F458 (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Road Atlanta, 2012), two LMP2 wins (Long Beach, 2013 and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, 2014) two GT pole positions, four LMP2 pole positions and a combined 22 podium finishes.
For 2015, Tequila Patrón ESM competes in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with two Tequila Patrón-sponsored LMP2 prototypes and drivers Scott Sharp, Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek, Ryan Dalziel, Jon Fogarty and David Heinemeier Hansson.
“It is incredibly exciting to start our WEC global championship run for Tequila Patrón ESM this weekend at Silverstone! The team has worked incredibly hard to get us to this point. Silverstone is a mega track with huge history and one all of us have always wants to drive at, so this is a great place to start.
“We have found ourselves in a position of having to run the ARX-03bs and know the new coupes are faster, so it’s a different strategy for us. While we may not have the pace of the coupes, we need to just be flawless in our execution and gather the best points we can in anticipation of getting the Ligiers for Spa.”
“We’re really looking forward to kicking off the WEC season. Everyone needs to just get back into the WEC mode and get points! It will be awesome for our Patrón guest to be able to watch us at our first race in Europe on the FOX networks. Now the U.S.-based WEC, Tequila Patrón and ESM fans will be able to follow us easier.
“The test at Paul Ricard went well and got us ready for this week’s race at Silverstone. It was nice driving the WEC-spec car; the grip with the tires is fantastic, but we could really feel the reduced horsepower since the cars have different configurations to IMSA rules. The track was so beautiful along with the surrounding area. We really just did our laps so that we could save the engine. The crowd was great and they loved our team.
“We are disappointed that Johannes won’t be with us this weekend, but the doctor requires him to stay home. He needs to rest and be back in racing form for Spa at the end of the month.”
“Silverstone is great for me since it is the only time I get back to racing in the UK. I will have a lot of friends and family there to support me. We showed in Sebring that the Honda ARX-03b still has good race speed, so we will be focusing on making the best possible race car over long runs.
“Silverstone is similar to Sebring as far as high downforce with relatively slow straights, and that’s where the HPD excels. We knew we took a gamble switching to the ARX-03bs for Sebring, but we felt there wasn’t a bad reason to use the 03bs at Sebring or Silverstone. We’re excited. We showed we had the speed at Sebring, we just had a little bit of bad luck.”
JOHANNES VAN OVERBEEK
“I’m very disappointed that I’m not able to compete with Tequila Patrón ESM during this weekend’s WEC race at Silverstone. I was looking forward to making my second appearance in England, but I must follow the doctor’s orders and rest. I broke a rib in a coughing fit on Sunday. Tried to take it easy for a few days, but I’ve been grounded by the doctor.
“I’ll be with the team in spirit and wish them all the best in the opening race of the WEC.”
“I’ve been watching in-car videos that I’ve found online and some Silverstone track maps. Once I get the circuit, I’ll be able to talk more with Ryan and David, since they’ve both raced at Silverstone.
“I’m looking forward to this event. As far as expectations, I think we’ll improve with every lap and session. This is a big undertaking for the Tequila Patrón ESM team but we’re ready for this challenge. My goal is to improve incrementally and finish strong.
“It is unfortunate that Johannes won’t be racing with us this weekend. I’m sure he’s super disappointed about it. I’m sure he’s done everything in his power to get to Silverstone, but he needs to take the doctor’s advice to stay home. He has a few weeks to recover before we race at Spa.
“This is really cool to be driving for Tequila Patrón ESM in its first full WEC season, plus this will be my first time racing in Europe. This season is all new for the entire team. I’m a little bit out of my comfort zone, but that heightens your senses. It is a lot to take in, but I’m motivated to do well. The newness keeps me on my toes and excited. I’m looking forward to this weekend and starting the WEC campaign.”
DAVID HEINEMEIER HANSSON
“I've been coming to Silverstone for the past five years. It's one of my absolute favorite tracks on the schedule, especially in an LMP2 car. The track is almost nothing but fast corners. We pull so many Gs in so many places that the physical challenge is immense, and very rewarding. The exhaustion is similar in some ways to Sebring, but it's a very different kind. There it's all about the track beating you up through uneven pavement and cracks. Silverstone is smooth as Patrón Silver, but very aggressive with the G-forces.
“But this is the WEC: Every second counts. Literally. There's no catch-up, no forgiveness. You simply just have to be perfect and fast. Simple, right?
“I think the HPD ARX-03b is pretty well suited for this track, but it is still an old car, and Silverstone rewards downforce above all else. We’ll have our work cut out trying to keep up with the latest machinery with more efficient aero packages. Our spectacular Patrón livery should be good for at least another five tenths of pace, though, and Ryan already proved we could give the Ligiers a fright at Sebring, so let's see!”