Stuart, FL, September 1, 2011 - After a promising weekend that went sour in Road America, Extreme Speed Motorsports is looking to put together the complete package in the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix.
ESM saw both Tequila Patrón sponsored Ferrari F458s solidly in the top ten on the GT speed charts in the test session and early practice at Elkhart Lake, only to have be hindered by mechanical gremlins later in the race For the #01, piloted by team owner/driver Scott Sharp and Johannes van Overbeek, a slipping clutch prevented the duo from fulfilling the top-five pace they had shown early in the race. The sister #02 machine was run afoul by a bad vibration, as Guy Cosmo and Ed Brown were forced to settle for 11th, three spots behind their team car.
With the F458 still in the development stages, mechanical setbacks are an unfortunate reality of a new race car.
"Obviously we would love have a trouble-free race and be competing for wins and podiums," said Sharp. "Those days are coming, and soon. The car is still very new to us, and in many ways this is a process of singling out weaknesses that need to be improved. Already we can see our pace improving when you compare it to the start of the season. The results will come."
The ESM team's next challenge is the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix, the second street race on the American Le Mans Series - Presented by Tequila Patrón calendar. The 12 turn, two mile course is set in Baltimore's scenic inner harbor which features local landmarks such as Camden Yards. The tight confines of the street course figure to be a massive challenge, especially given the that no team has so much as set foot on the circuit before.
ESM driver Johannes van Overbeek knows that the streets of Baltimore could provide the team with an opportunity for a strong finish.
"In street course racing, especially in multi-class racing like in the ALMS, handling traffic and being there at the finish is critical. For us, keeping it clean all day will be critical. If we can do that, as well as be quick like we have been especially in the last few races, I think we're poised for a good finish. But its never as easy as it sounds!"
ESM will get its first taste of the street circuit with a one hour practice session Friday at 9:25 AM local time and another at 1:40 PM. GT class qualifications are scheduled for 3:00 PM, while the green flag for the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix will fly Saturday at 4:30 PM.