Tequila Patrón ESM Returns to the Podium at Nürburgring
- 25 July 2016
Tequila Patrón ESM celebrated National Tequila Day in great fashion on Sunday, earning a third place finish at the FIA World Endurance Championship’s 6 Hours of Nürburgring. The No. 31 Ligier P2 of Ryan Dalziel, Luís Felipe “Pipo” Derani finished in third place, earning its third podium in the four completed races of the 2015 race season.
In an effort to prepare and gather information for the 2017 race season, Tequila Patrón ESM switched tire manufacturers to run Michelin, the most successful tire manufacturer in sports car racing. No small move, the two car team worked diligently all weekend to dial in the set up as quickly as possible without any previous tire testing. Focusing on set up instead of outright speed, the No. 30 and No. 31 Ligiers tested numerous variables in the practice and qualifying sessions leading up to the race.
In a qualifying session wrought with wet conditions, the No. 31 of Dalziel, Derani and Cumming started the race in seventh, and the No. 30 of Scott Sharp, Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek in 11th. Unlike the day before, the race itself was held in dry conditions, again changing the set ups teams prepare for the six hours ahead. The first half of the race seemed relatively uneventful for the team, with much of the focus being on the tires and car set up. In the final two hours, the team began its charge up the field, sitting fourth at the final round of pit stops. Ryan Dalziel engaged in a heated battle with the No. 42 Strakka Racing car, clinching third position with 30 minutes remaining. The battle continued, but Dalziel held to the position, crossing the finish line just 0.071 seconds ahead of the competition. The No. 30 of Sharp/Brown/van Overbeek finished 10th.
Gaining back valuable points after a difficult 24 Hours of Le Mans, when the team suffered suspension problems twice, the No. 31 now stands fourth in the LMP2 championship points with five races remaining. The series will now kick off the second half of the season, leaving the European leg of the championship behind. On September 3, Tequila Patrón ESM will compete on home soil at the 6 Hours of Mexico, where the premium tequila is distilled. For more schedule and series information, visit fiawec.com.
Great job for the ESM Patrón Team this weekend. It was a big switch to Michelins, which results in a completely different setup. Fantastic job by everyone on the 31 to nail a podium on our first weekend after the switch! It was a strong result, with great points!
I’m really proud of the team for doing such a great job during the changeover in tire manufacturers. To do it in the middle of the race season can be challenging, but the guys fought hard to bring us an awesome finish.
Johannes van Overbeek
It was a challenging weekend for Tequila Patrón ESM. We had to task of incorporating a new tire partner, Michelin, into the fold. Anytime you change tires there’s a learning curve. Ideally, you have a test but there wasn’t time for that so we had to do it on the fly. We never gave up and improved every session. We may have been a bit too aggressive with the set up on the number 30 car in the end. Ed had a great stint despite the difficult conditions and my hats off to 31 car for finishing on the podium.
We are really happy with the result especially on National Tequila Day when we had a number of Patrón guests cheering us on. Being the first weekend on Michelins it was a big challenge all weekend with changing track conditions so we went into the race a little unsure of what we would have on the long runs. We started off slowly but the team made some brilliant tire pressure changes throughout the race and even better strategy calls and we found ourselves fighting for the podium. The last stint was so tough for me as we were out of new tires, so I was actually sent out on Chris’s race tires which had already almost two stints on them. I did my best and manage to hold on to the last podium spot despite big pressure from Straka on the final two laps. Super happy for the team and now we can build on the Michelin set ups for Mexico City. Another big event for Tequila Patrón ESM.
It was a very tough race, but a race that we came away with the one and only objective of learning the new tires. I think we achieved that. We now have a lot of valuable information to study and learn for the next rounds. It was a little difficult throughout the whole weekend in practice, qualifying, and even my first stint, but towards the end of the race, the car got a lot better as the track got more rubber. It was a little bit of luck here and there, but that’s racing. It was a great team effort. Everyone executed everything without any mistakes. We finished on the podium which is a very rewarding result after a difficult weekend. We’re looking forward to the next races, improving our pace and getting better with our new tires. I can’t wait for Mexico.
This is an encouraging start to our relationship with Michelin. We learned a lot this weekend and the team did a great job to get us this result. We are all excited about the upcoming 6 Hours of Mexico.