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Patron ESM to Forgo Remainder of NAEC

Patron ESM to skip remainder of North American Endurance Cup…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

With a challenging start to the year and no points currently on the board, Tequila Patron ESM has decided to forgo the remaining rounds of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup in order to focus on its full-season effort in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The Scott Sharp-owned team, which debuted its new Ligier JS P2 Hondas in last weekend’s Six Hours of Spa, has cited financial and logistical reasons for not returning to the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship this year.

“I think there’s multiple reasons,” Sharp told Sportscar365. “One, we’ve been through quite a lot, really. We’re on our third chassis.

“We ended up with no points at both Daytona and Sebring for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup, so there’s no championship for us to run for [anymore].

“We’re obviously spending quite a lot of money, switching from all these chassis.

“Now that we’re committed to the Ligier and we’re over here in Europe, the costs to bring these cars back to try to run [Watkins] Glen would be round-trip $250,000 to $300,000.

“If you’re not on the WEC travel plan, you’re doing that on your own. It just doesn’t make financial sense right now.”

Sharp said the tight turnaround between Petit Le Mans and the Six Hours of Fuji, one week later, would have also potentially compromised their weekend in Japan.

Running their HPD ARX-03b cars at Watkins Glen or Road Atlanta was also not an option, according to the former IMSA champion.

“In hindsight, given what we’ve been chosen to do this year, and the focus on WEC, I think it decided itself,” Sharp said.

While the Florida-based team may not be seen in any further TUDOR Championship races this year, they will still be making one U.S. race appearance in the FIA WEC round at Circuit of The Americas in September.

“We’ve been thrown more curve balls than we had hoped,” said Patron Spirits CEO and ESM driver Ed Brown.

“The big thing that everyone has to understand is that the decision for us not to run in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup is financial and [logistical].

“We’ve put such a strain on our team this year that it would be unfair to try to kris-cross back and forth the ocean.”

Brown said a decision has yet to be made on the team’s plans for next year.

“We’re two races into a really long [WEC] season,” he said. “Scott and I will start looking at things in October and November, as far as the TUDOR Championship for next year, and see where it goes.”

In addition to ESM, Krohn Racing, which also registered for the four-round Patron Endurance Cup, is not expected to take further part in any further races as well due to its focus on the European Le Mans Series with its Ligier-Judd LMP2 car.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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