Tequila Patrón ESM Earns Best Finish of FIA WEC Season at COTA
- 20 September 2015
Austin, Texas – Tequila Patrón ESM earned its best finish of the season today during the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas (COTA). A hard-charging Ryan Dalziel passed the No. 43 LMP2 for fourth place moments before the checkered flag.
Six hours earlier, Dalziel started the race in third. He claimed second with a smooth pass on the No. 28 LMP2, and then took over the race lead on pit stop strategy. Dalziel went from third to first in less than an hour from the green flag. He pitted once for fuel and attempted to double stint the Dunlop tires. Even with older tires, Dalziel was able to keep the competition at bay while he led the LMP2 field. His double stint turned into a stint-and-a-half once the tires began to show wear. Dalziel pitted for fuel, tires and a driver change to Scott Sharp.
In one of the most challenging stints of the race, Sharp ran in the heat of the day. The No. 30 machine was a handful, yet Sharp battled the competition through his stint before the scheduled stop to David Heinemeier Hansson. The silver-ranked Heinemeier Hansson ran competitive laps and maintained his position before the final driver change back to Dalziel.
Johannes van Overbeek started the race from the sixth position in the No. 31 Tequila Patrón ESM Ligier JS Honda. Per the team’s race strategy, van Overbeek double-stinted the first set of Dunlop tires before pitting with a driver change to Ed Brown. The Tequila Patrón ESM cars were the only LMP2 competitors to double stint tires in the first segment of the race.
On lap 54, with less than two hours complete, Brown was in Turn 19 and heard a pop. He continued towards Turn 20, was airborne, landed and slid into the wall causing damage to the rear of the racing machine. The car was safely removed from the track via flatbed and sent to parc ferme for inspection by FIA WEC officials and team personnel. The team determined that tire pick up caused an issue with the brakes. The No. 31 machine was unable to complete the race.
Up next for Tequila Patrón ESM is the 6 Hours of Fuji on October 9-11.
“We made some changes after Nürburgring and made some big steps forward. I can’t thank Ligier enough for all the support they’ve given us and for allowing their engineer Matthieu Leroy to come on board; he made a big difference. We probably could have easily finished third had a couple of things gone our way today. We were competitive in qualifying and we made huge gains this weekend. I’m happy with the progress and fourth place.
“My stint was rough. We knew going in that my stint was probably going to be the hardest one out there with the temperature. The car was bit of a handful. Once the tires were pretty well shagged by the second stint, the car wasn’t bad compared to the competition. We were turning some good laps. It was good.
“This race was a confidence booster for everybody. We’re looking forward to Japan.
“I’m glad that Ed is okay following the incident in Turns 19 and 20. The car took a pretty big hit, but Ed was able to walk away without injury.”
“These cars are super safe and built to take a hit like we did there. It is unfortunate that it happened. I felt a pop at the apex of Turn 19 and by the time I was in Turn 20, the car was taking off. It seemed like we were having some braking issues the few laps before.
“The car was a handful out there. The car was improving with every lap and had we not had the issue, I think we would have picked up pace and positions as the night went on.”
“The first stint, the car was okay but we felt like it was going to get better as the sun went down and the temperatures cooled off, which it did. We were a little too loose balance-wise during the race and I think that’s why we didn’t have the pace. Now we’re getting closer.
“We saw a huge improvement this weekend; massive credit to the crew for working so hard since Nürburgring to make the team better. We’ll analyze the data from here and we’ll find some items that need improvement for Japan. This was a genuinely good result. We didn’t inherit fourth; we fought hard to get there. We want to be on the podium for the next race.
JOHANNES VAN OVERBEEK
“The opening stint was challenging but we were able to find a rhythm. I was able to double stint my Dunlops, but we were losing pace towards the end of the run. All in all, the car was good.
“Ed was on his way to a great run. We’re not exactly sure what happened, but we do know that Ed is okay. The car was airborne off the curb and slid into the wall. That shows how tough these Ligiers are built. The car was completely out of commission and Ed was uninjured.
“It is a shame that our race ended so early. We really wanted a strong result at the only US race on the WEC schedule. The cars are showing promise, so we’ll look ahead to Japan and build on what we did here today.”
DAVID HEINEMEIER HANSSON
“Overall the car had better pace than previous races, so that was a big turnaround. We still have some room to improve to reach the podium. It was a shame that we didn’t have more time to put pressure on Yacaman (No. 28 LMP2, third-place finisher). Had we had another 20 minutes, we would have had a shot at third place. We’ll look at the positives here in that we took a huge step forward and the car was on pace. We had less time in the pits. We made a lot of progress this weekend. We’ll take this fourth place and move forward. We made huge gains since Nürburgring and if we can improve that same amount from COTA to Japan, we’ll be in great shape.”
Tequila Patrón ESM