Tequila Patrón ESM Sets Out for 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship
- 11 April 2016
The FIA World Endurance Championship season officially begins this weekend with the 6 Hours of Silverstone, the first of nine races on the 2016 calendar. Tequila Patrón ESM is returning to the sports car endurance racing series with two Nissan-powered Ligier JS P2s, and a driver lineup to be feared.
Returning drivers Ed Brown, Scott Sharp and Johannes van Overbeek will share the No. 30 Tequila Patrón ESM Ligier. The trio, and Brazilian driver Pipo Derani, have already enjoyed great success this season, winning the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring, the first team to do so since 1998. Derani will join team newcomer Chris Cumming and ESM veteran Ryan Dalziel in the No. 31 Tequila Patrón ESM Ligier.
Of note, van Overbeek returns after missing the Silverstone round last year due to a rib injury. David Brabham filled in for him in the race. Cumming makes his team debut this weekend.
Tequila Patrón ESM will also expand its relationship with OAK Racing for the 2016 season, already officially moving the team’s United Kingdom headquarters to France, to operate out of OAK Racing’s shop. OAK Racing operated another team during the 2015 WEC season.
“OAK Racing did an amazing job last year in the WEC, winning many races, as well as the Championship,” said Sharp. “With Onroak being the constructor of the Ligier chassis, they know their car the best, and it showed. For Tequila Patrón ESM to have the opportunity to merge with a group like that who had tremendous success with the car we own made huge sense for us.”
Tequila Patrón ESM struggled but learned throughout the 2015 WEC season, the team’s first full-season entry into the World Championship. Many of the tracks were new to the drivers, while the team also worked with multiple chassis and an overweight engine. The 2.8-liter Honda engine the team ran last year was in need of a Balance of Performance (BoP) adjustment, however, the WEC refrains from making such adjustments in the LMP2 class. For 2016, the team will run the Gibson-Nissan engine, which the Ligier JS P2 chassis was originally designed around.
“Last year was a very rough year,” reflected Sharp. “We ran three different chassis in the first five months of the year, and were therefore very behind in trying to learn the Ligier. On top of that, we were going to tracks that were new to us, but the rest of the field had extensive knowledge of. It was like bringing a knife to a gunfight.
“Now, learning all of the tracks will be a big step forward for us this season compared to last. The new Honda 3.5-liter engine that is now allowed in IMSA is fantastic, but it was clear to all involved that the Nissan engine was better suited for our WEC efforts.”
The first official practice for the 6 Hours of Silverstone begins Friday at 12:15PM local time. For all event information, visit www.fiawec.com.
Scott Sharp // Team Owner // Driver #30 Tequila Patrón ESM Ligier
I’m very excited about our driver lineups, and welcome Pipo and Chris to the team. I’m equally enthusiastic that Johannes, Ed, Ryan, and I get to return to so many of the tracks that were new to us last year! Ed especially is really going to come on strong this year. I’m expecting some very strong outings from both of our lineups!
Ed Brown // Tequila Patrón President, Chief Executive Officer // Driver #30 Tequila Patrón ESM Ligier
I’m really excited to start the WEC season at Silverstone, especially after the start we had winning Daytona and Sebring. I’m super pumped to be driving with Johannes and Scott this season, and it should be a blast. The WEC has a whole lot different racing with the way the yellows, minimum drive time and qualifying for Silvers work out, but it is going to be awesome.
Johannes van Overbeek // Driver #30 Tequila Patrón ESM Ligier
It’s hard to believe that another year has begun. The last time I raced at Silverstone was with the American Le Mans Series in 2000. I’m looking forward to getting back after all these years. Tequila Patrón ESM is on a roll after our two U.S. victories at Daytona and Sebring. I’m looking forward to re-learning the circuit in the Ligier Nissan.
Ryan Dalziel // Driver #31 Tequila Patrón ESM Ligier
Silverstone is always such a great track for me. Not only does it bring back many memories of my time racing full time in the U.K., but it’s such a fast and demanding track just what I love. We had a good result there last season, so we’re hoping for continued success and getting some good points in the table at round 1. I’m also really excited to be returning to my Tequila Patrón ESM family and hope to further improve on their already stellar 2016 season.
Chris Cumming // Driver #31 Tequila Patrón ESM Ligier
It’s great to be finally kicking off the WEC season after so much preparation and anticipation. Pre-season testing has gone well and I already feel at home with the Tequila Patrón ESM guys. This year will be a good fight from beginning to end.