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Local Sports

ESM ready for Baltimore

Highlands Today Special to Highlands Today
Published:   |   Updated: March 11, 2013 at 08:06 PM

The Tequila Patrón-sponsored Extreme Speed Motorsports team looks to capitalize on this weekend's Baltimore Sports Car Challenge presented by SRT, an all-out two-hour sprint through Baltimore's Inner Harbor, the eighth round of competition in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.

The magic number this weekend for ESM is two. ESM team is heading full throttle through the concrete canyons of Baltimore, the second race for Charm City, and the second street course of the ALMS season. The two-hour event is on a track two miles in length and the two-car ESM team looks for a double podium for the No. 01 and No. 02 Tequila Patrón Ferrari Italia 458 cars and drivers. 

"We're excited to get to the final street course of the year in the great city of Baltimore," said Ed Brown, co-driver of the No. 02 car. "The fans last year were just awesome. It had to have been one of the largest crowds of the year, and they were so excited for us to be there."

 During the Long Beach street race earlier this season, the No. 01 Tequila Patrón Ferrari Italia 458 finished in third place, the first podium finish for co-drivers Scott Sharp and Johannes van Overbeek this season.  The two veteran drivers have earned three podium finishes in 2012 — two third places and one victory. 

"The ESM Patrón Ferrari's handled very well at Long Beach en route to our first podium finish this season," Sharp said. "Since Long Beach, the ESM team has worked tirelessly to improve our Ferraris, and with all of the work the team has done and everything that we've all learned since April, I'm sure we can get even more speed out of the car for Baltimore."

Both Sharp and van Overbeek excel at street circuits and expect a solid finish this weekend, en route to the best season on record for the No. 01 car.  The experienced drivers know that patience and strategy will be the keys to success this weekend.

"Baltimore has a great rhythm and combination of fast and slow corners that ought to suit the ESM/Patrón Ferrari," van Overbeek said. "Due to the short nature of the race, it should be action-packed from the drop. If our setup from Long Beach transfers, we should be in fighting form for the two-hour race on Saturday and in good position at the end of it."  

Guy Cosmo and Brown, co-drivers of the No. 02 Tequila Patrón Ferrari Italia 458, finished the 2011 Baltimore race, in 10thth place, just one position behind its sister car. Similar to the No. 01 drivers, Cosmo and Brown look forward to attacking the short course, all while keeping an eye on the clock since the Baltimore race will pass by very quickly. 

"The two-hour format should bode well for Ed and me," Cosmo said. "We were strong on the streets of Long Beach, so we'll have a good setup heading into the Baltimore street circuit. It's a condensed schedule with limited track time, so it's important to be strong rolling off the trailer. We are ready."

Before the on-track action begins, the ESM team will cruise over to Baltimore's Little Italy on Wednesday. Sharp, van Overbeek and Cosmo, and the No. 01 and No. 02 Tequila Patrón Ferrari Italy 458 race cars will celebrate the racecar's Italian heritage by driving down High Street.  During the event, the ESM drivers will participate in Little Italy's traditional bocce ball game, enjoy a meet and greet with fans and spend time in the historic and celebrated Little Italy community.

"We are all excited to return after the tremendous reception and excitement shown by the people of Baltimore last year especially with all of their enthusiasm for our cars — the speeds, the sounds and the action," Sharp said. "I've been looking forward to racing at Baltimore since we left there last year; I'm excited to be back and racing in Baltimore."

 The Baltimore Sports Car Challenge presented by SRT is a two-day event. The team will take to the track for two practice sessions on Friday, followed by qualifying at 5:27 p.m. Green flag for the race is on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.