Ed Brown is set to retire from prototype racing after this weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, and will be replaced by Pipo Derani at Tequila Patron ESM for the remainder of the season.
The 54-year-old is President and CEO of Patron Spirits International, and currently drives the No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
However, the six-hour race at Watkins Glen this weekend will be Brown’s last in prototypes, and his long-time co-driver Johannes van Overbeek will be joined by Derani for the rest of the WeatherTech Championship season.
“I have been racing for 14 years,” said Brown. “I have had a ball, but given the tremendous growth of Patron, it’s more important than ever that I more fully commit my attention to the global business opportunity.
“The plan was always to retire from prototype racing at some point, and now seemed like the right time.”
He has been racing for over a decade, since ESM sponsored current team owner Scott Sharp, and has moved up from GT cars to prototypes.
Brown, van Overbeek, Sharp and Derani combined to win both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in a Ligier JS P2 Honda last season.
“It has been an amazing experience over the last 13 years,” said Tequila Patron ESM team owner Scott Sharp.
“I watched a guy, who had never driven anything, push himself, become immersed in the sport, develop into a top driver, and help score some big wins!
“Ed has equally been instrumental off the track proving key direction and foresight for us as a team and myself as a friend.”
Derani will replace Brown starting at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park one week after the Watkins Glen round.
The Brazilian driver raced with the team for the full FIA World Endurance Championship and Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup seasons last year.
This season he was initially contracted for the NAEC rounds again but takes on an increased program following this announcement.
ESM’s No. 2 lineup of Sharp and Ryan Dalziel remains the same for the coming races.
“It feels great to be back with the team,” said Derani. “After a good Daytona, Sebring wasn’t the best, but I am really looking forward to Watkins Glen, and even more to continuing the rest of the season.
“It will be a great pleasure to share the car with Johannes again and I hope to contribute as much as I can to bring this car to victory.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the team, Scott, and Ed for the trust and wish him all the best for the future.”
Brown plans to test several GT3 cars over the coming months, in consideration for a GT3 program next season.
The team still plans to run in the WeatherTech Championship through the 2018 season.