One of the most challenging events on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar takes place this weekend in Sebring, Florida, just two hours away from Tequila Patrón ESM’s base in Riviera Beach, Florida. The 2016 race winners will return to Sebring International Raceway with a two car assault, with sights set on claiming victory at the 66th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Scott Sharp, Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek, and Pipo Derani earned the 2016 win, and this year, three of the four drivers will return to compete in a pair of Nissan Onroak DPi prototypes. Sharp will be joined by full season co-driver Ryan Dalziel, and Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup (TPNAEC) addition Olivier Pla in the No. 2 Nissan. Full time co-drivers Johannes van Overbeek and Pipo Derani will seek to defend their win with Nicolas Lapierre as their endurance addition in the No. 22 Nissan.
The 2018 season got off to a rocky start for the Florida based team. Mechanical issues plagued the team during first race of the season, resulting in early retirement of both cars during the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Persistent in their quest for progress in the development of the Nissan prototype program, the team conducted hours of on track testing over the next month and a half, focusing on the preparations for the Twelve Hours of Sebring.
The 3.74 mile road course is legendary for its bumpy concrete and asphalt surfaces, making the twelve hour endurance event a true test of man and machine. The fans at the Twelve Hours of Sebring are just as notorious as the track itself, creating an electric atmosphere unique to any other event on the 2018 sports car racing calendar. Fans of all ages camp out during the three day event, sporting costumes and every combination of team gear from competitors of the last 66 years.
Quotes | No. 2 Nissan Onroak DPi
Daytona was a big disappointment to the Tequila Patrón ESM team, but everyone has worked so hard since. We tested well and are ready for the Twelve Hours of Sebring this Saturday! From the test its obvious the field will be incredibly tight, with most of the Prototype entries in the run to win. It will be an incredible fight!
Obviously we were extremely disappointed with our Daytona result. Since January, Tequila Patrón ESM has worked like crazy to address the issues that arose, and we had a really great test at Sebring a few weeks ago. With no official timing it’s hard to know where we stack up against the competition but without a doubt we left there with one of the best handling cars I’ve ever driven around the bumpy track, so I’m really excited and confident about what we have for this weekend. For me, Sebring is always a little more special since my wife is from there and we have a lot of local supporters for myself and our Florida based team.
Sebring is one of my favorite races of the year and one of my favorite tracks too! The competition, as always, will be intense and a lot of thing can happen. We worked hard in the last test to make sure we have a good race car over this special place and we feel ready to go and race hard!
Quotes | No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi
Johannes van Overbeek
I love Sebring! It’s such a challenging event and enthusiastic crowd, and this year’s competition will be stiffer than ever. Fans should be treated with fireworks on the track from beginning to end. I’m pleased that Nico is joining Pipo and I in the Tequila Patrón ESM Nissan-Ligier. Together, we will be fighting with everything we have to end up on the top step again at Sebring. It will be far from easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.
I am really focused on Sebring this weekend and aiming to contribute everything I possibly can to making sure we can challenge at the front of the field. Sebring is one of the very toughest races on the calendar. It rewards courage, strategy, and stamina, which the Tequila Patrón ESM squad has plenty of. After Daytona, we were not down for long and as a team we were immediately focusing on Sebring, because we know we can do a really good job there. Johannes, Nico, and I will be ready to meet the challenges of Sebring head-on. The objective will be to get our No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi in to the best position possible so we can hopefully battle for top honors.
Sebring is one of my favorite races. I love this old school track and the great atmosphere that you can feel the all week. However, it is also one of the hardest races in the world. The bumps are very hard on the car and as a driver you have to stay focused every second. I’m convinced that we have a package to fight in the front. Testing between Daytona and Sebring went well.
Source. KBru Communications