Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
Local Sports

ESM cruising for first


Published:

Flashing back to memories of one year and one race ago, Extreme Speed Motorsports channels that energy to charge ahead with a specific goal this weekend - to greet the checkered flag first and enjoy the podium celebration during the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

Extreme Speed Motorsports took first place points in Canada last year and again last week at Lime Rock Park - both times without celebrating on the top step of the podium.

Last July at CTMP, ESM earned its first win in team history and driver Johannes van Overbeek celebrated his 100th American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patrón start. At last year's event, Sharp and then co-driver Johannes van Overbeek were awarded the win after the first place finishing car was excluded for a technical infraction following a post-race inspection.

At the last round at Lime Rock Park Guy Cosmo was pushed off course while leading late in the race by the Level 5 entry of Ryan Briscoe who was penalized post-race. ESM got the first place points, but not the first place trophy.

Since that initial win one year ago, ESM achieved several other firsts: first pole (Virginia International Raceway), a win at daunting Petit Le Mans (Road Atlanta) and a team-best finish of second place in the drivers' championship points standings. The team leveraged that momentum from 2012 and launched themselves into 2013 with a brand new P2 program.

After that quick transition into P2 in March, ESM found success when they led laps at the season-opening Sebring race, earned the team's first 1-2 finish at Long Beach, a third-place finish at Laguna and dominating performance at Lime Rock.

The Florida-based team views the north of the border track as a launch pad for the 2012 season and this year, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park should be the turning point for ESM this season. Scott Sharp and Guy Cosmo, co-drivers of the No. 01 Tequila Patrón Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b, find themselves a mere three points out of first place in the ALMS P2 drivers' championship standings and are determined to take lead away from the competition this week.

Following the late-race incident at Lime Rock Park, Sharp and Cosmo want to make a statement of their own at the 2.459-mile circuit.

The duo is charged and ready to conquer the competition and rightly secure a win that they were robbed of less than two weeks ago.

Ed Brown and van Overbeek, co-drivers of the No. 02 Tequila Patrón Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b, are looking for their second podium finish of the season this weekend.

Although new to the P2 race machine, Brown and van Overbeerk have quickly adapted to the machinery and have exceeded their goals. The driving duo seeks to steadily improve upon their results and return to the podium for ESM's second double-podium finish of the season.

Following the first four rounds of competition, Brown and van Overbeek are tied for fifth. As a team, ESM is ranked second, just three points out of first place. With every race, ESM gains more momentum, earns more points and closes on the competition. The team and No. 01 drivers are within striking distance to take the points lead in both categories.

The two-hour, 45-minute Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix is the fifth round of the 10-race ALMS championship. Qualifying for P2 cars is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. today.

Live coverage of qualifying begins at 3:20 p.m. today on ESPN3.

The race is set for noon on Sunday from the 2.459-mile circuit in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.

The race will be streamed live at www.espn3.com beginning at 11:45 a.m. Race coverage begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday on ESPN2.

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