Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014
Local Sports

ESM cruises into Belle Isle


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Fresh off its first overall win in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) is hungry for a second victory and has its sights set on this weekend’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic on Belle Isle – the fifth round of the inaugural TUDOR Championship.

ESM is making its Detroit prototype debut. Belle Isle may be new to the ESM Tequila Patrón-sponsored Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b race cars, but the team was quickest in GT qualifying back in 2012, en route to the team’s first pole at Belle Isle as part of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.

The Belle Isle circuit was reconfigured in 2013 to the current 13-turn, 2.35-mile temporary street layout. Despite the circuit changes, the team must adapt quickly to the new configuration and manage the tight turns and bumpy surface that temporary street circuits often present.

Scott Sharp and Ryan Dalziel, co-drivers of the No. 1 Tequila Patrón HPD, are looking to return to the podium for the first time since the 12 Hours of Sebring in March. The duo has showed its speed and performance in the last two rounds of competition but bad luck reared its ugly head both times. Despite running some of the quickest laps at Long Beach, the No. 1 machine ran out of fuel on the white flag lap. Then earlier this month after running strong at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the team was forced to the sidelines mid-race with a broken gearbox. Sharp was part of that pole-winning team in 2012 at Belle Isle and he also competed there in the IndyCar Series. Dalziel finished on the Belle Isle podium in 2013 and looks to make a return visit.

Still riding the wave of their first overall win at the Grand Prix of Monterey earlier this month are Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek, co-drivers of the No. 2 Tequila Patrón HPD. The duo started from the pole and resumed the lead with 15 minutes remaining in the race to capture the team’s first win of the season. Van Overbeek has raced at Belle Isle before but teammate Brown is new to the island circuit. With four races complete this season, Brown and van Overbeek are third in the driver’s championship standings.

This weekend’s race is the only TUDOR Championship event that takes place on a state park and island. On Feb. 10, Belle Isle Park was recognized as a State of Michigan park. The 982-acre island is situated on the Detroit River just off the mainland with a view of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Chevrolet Sports Car Classic presented by the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Continental is the fifth race of 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

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