Tequila Patrón ESM has secured Timo Bernhard and Antonio Giovinazzi for the 21st Annual Motul Petit Le Mans, October 10-13. The pair of drivers has stepped in to replace Olivier Pla and Nico Lapierre following a schedule change and date conflict between the IMSA WeatherTech Championship finale event and the World Endurance Championship’s Six Hours of Fuji.
Bernhard and Giovinazzi will close out the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech Championship with full season drivers Scott Sharp, Ryan Dalziel, Johannes van Overbeek, and Pipo Derani in the team’s pair of Nissan Onroak DPi prototypes.
The Nissan Onroak DPi squad won the 20th Annual Motul Petit Le Mans in 2017 after a commanding final stint charge from drivers Scott Sharp, Ryan Dalziel, and Brendon Hartley. Johannes van Overbeek, Pipo Derani, and Bruno Senna finished in the top four with the No. 22 Nissan, the car that went on to win the 2018 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
“Each team member of Tequila Patrón ESM is super excited to welcome Timo and Antonio to our effort for Petit,” said Team Owner Scott Sharp. “Both have deep experience, and fantastic speed race craft! I can’t think of better additions to help ESM defend our win from last year!”
A Porsche Works driver since 2002, Bernhard is no stranger to endurance racing, and will join van Overbeek and Derani in the No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi. The 37 year-old German racer and two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans overall winner currently holds four wins at the ten hour race, having won in GT in 2003 and 2004, and in LMP2 in 2006 and 2007.
“I’m excited to be joining Tequila Patrón ESM for this year’s Petit Le Mans,” said Bernhard. “The PLM ranks within the top classic endurance events. It will be my 10th participation and I‘d like to help ESM to score a top result. I have known Scott since the old ALMS days where we battled many times for wins. Big compliment on what he has achieved with his team so far.”
Antonio Giovinazzi previously raced with Extreme Speed Motorsports in 2016, at the WEC Six hours of Fuji and Six Hours of Shanghi where he finished in second place alongside Tom Blomqvist and Sean Gelael in the Ligier-Nissan JSP2. Earlier this year, Giovinazzi raced together with Pipo Derani and Toni Vilander in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, securing a fifth place finish in the Ferrari 488 GTE Evo. The Scuderia Ferrari F1 reserve driver will join Sharp and Dalziel in the No. 2 Nissan Onroak DPi.
“Taking part in the 10 hours of Road Atlanta is a big challenge for me, said Giovinazzi. “It is one of the most important endurance races in the world and I am very excited to be part of this winning team with a strong driver line-up.”
The ten hour endurance event will be Extreme Speed Motorsports’ final event with Tequila Patrón, following the brand’s departure from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at the conclusion of the 2018 season. The prototype team currently plans on securing necessary sponsorship and continuing its legacy in sports car racing.
Source. KBru Communications