Local Sports

Extremely fast

– Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) won today’s Grand Prix of Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and set a number of historical marks in the process. The No. 2 Tequila Patrón Honda Performance Development ARX-03b (HPD) of Ed Brown and pole-winner Johannes van Overbeek claimed the first overall victory for ESM in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

“This is my first win and I don’t think it has sunk in yet,” Brown said. “To beat the best drivers in the world, I’ll take that. When Johannes and I win, it is big. This is our first win as teammates and the first overall ESM and Tequila Patrón win. It is hard driving the car, but it is really hard not being in the car because it is more nerve-wracking. At least when you are in the car, you are in control of things and when I’m sitting there, waiting and hoping that my teammate is doing his job. Then the other factors, as fuel and traffic, but it all worked out perfect.”

It was the first win for the duo of Brown and van Overbeek. On Saturday, van Overbeek, from Oakland, Calif., won his first overall pole position and brought home the win on Sunday afternoon in a caution-free event. He made the winning pass with 15 minutes to go.

I could not be happier,” van Overbek said. “This is my home race. I thought I was cursed at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca because I’ve come so close to winning so many times. To win with Ed, Tequila Patrón and ESM, it is just fantastic.

“I’m proud of Ed for starting from pole and fending off the field. He’s the one that put us in a position for the win. Thanks to the crew as well; our pit stop and driver change was flawless. All of our practice is paying off.”

Brown was the starting driver for the No. 2 machine. In a career-best run, Brown was competitive and kept a top-10 position throughout his 22-minute stint before turning the car over to van Overbeek. The team pitted under green and was shuffled back in the field.

At the start of his stint, van Overbeek was scored 12th and improved his position with each lap. In 13 laps, he was running fifth. Then 16 laps later, van Overbeek was the race leader.

Looking to out-strategize the competition, the team called van Overbeek to pit for fuel at Lap 50, shortly after the race’s mid-point. Following the pit stop, the No. 2 machine fell to third with 50 minutes remaining on the race clock. That’s when van Overbeek began his second charge to the front.

In a battle with a DP car, van Overbeek planned his move. By Lap 76, he was back in the lead with less than 15 minutes to go. Once in the lead, van Overbeek never looked back and went on to win the two-hour event.

Scott Sharp started the day for the No. 1 Tequila Patrón HPD. At Lap 25, Sharp moved into third and was the race leader by Lap 28. He pitted for a scheduled driver change on Lap 30 and turned the car over to Ryan Dalziel.

Dalziel posted some of the quickest times of the race and reached the second position. On Lap 45, he was experience mechanical issues. By the time he reached Turn 7, Dalziel identified the problem was in the gearbox. He stopped and was unable to complete the race. Despite not finishing the event, the No. 1 team was scored in 11th place.

In GT Le Mans, Corvette Racing followed up its win at Long Beach with a repeat trip to Victory Lane by co-drivers Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia. Bill Auberlen in No. 55 BMW Team RLL Z4 took over second place on the last lap by pushing past the No. 911 Porsche North America 911 RSR car driven by Nick Tandy.

Post-race review of late-race contact between the No. 55 and the No. 911 resulted in the No. 911 receiving a stop/plus 60-second penalty. That dropped the No. 911 to ninth in GTLM and moved the No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia of Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer into third.

The headlining race involving the TUDOR Championship’s P and GTLM classes was preceded by a separate two-hour race for Prototype Challenge (PC) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes.

In that one, Starworks Motorsport’s Renger van der Zande overcame an early-race incident by his co-driver Mirco Schultis to win easily – by 12.234 seconds over Sean Rayhall of 8Star Motorsports, who co-drove with Luis Diaz.

In GTD, the No. 45 Audi R8 of Spencer Pumpelly and Nelson Canache Jr. was the class of the field until midway through the last lap when the car ran out of fuel.

That paved the way for Dane Cameron’s No. 94 BMW Z4 to slip past and take the victory.

“Everything said we should have been good,” said Pumpelly. “Now that we missed it by that little bit I’m kicking myself for every 31 (1-minute, 31 second lap) that I ran that could have been a 32, so I’m going to mull over that for a while.”

Cameron, who co-drove with Markus Palttala, said he was at the top of the corkscrew on the final lap when he realized he could win.

“They were telling me to hurry up and I wasn’t sure how much I could hurry up any more,” said Cameron. “I think everyone probably shouted and jumped up and down and hoped that his car wouldn’t pick-up enough to get himself back going.”

Next on the schedule for Prototypes and the GTD class is The Raceway at Belle Isle Park in Detroit, Mich., on May 30-31.