Local Sports

ESM ready for Lime Rock Park

The Extreme Speed Motorsports team maximized its time during the brief June break for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patrón. Following a couple of test sessions, and races in the Ferrari Challenge and GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series - mixed in with a little surf and sun - the Florida-based team is mentally, physically and mechanically prepared to attack the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park today. Since the transition into the Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b racing machines so close to the start of the 2013 season, ESM had minimal time to prepare the new race cars for the first three ALMS events this season. Succeeding under pressure, the engineers and crew assembled both cars in record time, led laps at Sebring, earned the first one-two finish in team history at Long Beach, and led laps and earned a podium finish at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Now as the team heads to Lime Rock Park, it has its sights set on more wins and more double-podium finishes. All four drivers - Scott Sharp, Guy Cosmo, Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek - increased their seat time during several test sessions during the break and look to have that hard work start to pay off this weekend. Co-drivers of the No. 01 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b have even more at stake this weekend. Both Sharp and Cosmo call the 1.5-mile circuit their home track. Sharp was raised in nearby Norwalk, Conn., approximately two hours south of the facility. Sharp's memories of the track include being a racer and spectator. He watched his father, Bob Sharp, race at the historic track and then from behind the wheel, the younger Sharp found success in SCCA, Trans-AM and IMSA. Sharp looks to add another Lime Rock win to his résumé. In 2008, Sharp and then co-driver David Brabham were the overall event winners in their Tequila Patrón-sponsored Acura LMP2. Cosmo is a native of Long Island, N.Y. From his first kart race, Cosmo was a staple at Lime Rock Park during his early racing years. Looking to settle a score with the track after last year's abrupt end in Turn 7, Cosmo looks to prove he is a master at the series' shortest track and take the checkered flag on Saturday afternoon. Brown and van Overbeek, co-drivers of the No. 02 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b, earned their first P2 podium finish of the season at Long Beach and look to repeat that success this weekend. Both Brown and van Overbeek gained valuable seat time during the June break and look to leverage it and build some momentum this weekend one session at a time - practices, qualifying and the race. ESM is keeping tabs on the P2 drivers' standings. Following the first three rounds of competition, Sharp and Cosmo are tied for fourth place in the drivers' standings, just 10 points out of first place. Brown and van Overbeek are tied for fifth. As a team, ESM is ranked second, just seven points out of first place. With seven races remaining this season, there is ample time for the drivers and the team to take the championship lead in the P2 class. The two-hour, 45-minute American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix is the fourth round of the 10-race ALMS championship and takes place today. The race is set for 3:05 p.m. today from the 1.5-mile circuit in Lakeville, Conn. The race will be streamed live at www.espn3.com beginning at 2:45 p.m.