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EXCLUSIVE: ESM Enters FIA WEC at COTA, Scales Back TUSC Entry

Exclusive: Extreme Speed Motorsports enters FIA WEC round at COTA…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Extreme Speed Motorsports is the latest TUDOR United SportsCar Championship team to dip its toes into the FIA World Endurance Championship, with the Scott Sharp-owned squad confirming a LMP2 entry for next month’s Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas.

In a Sportscar365 exclusive, Sharp revealed the team’s plans late Friday, which will see the former ALMS champion team with Ryan Dalziel and Ed Brown in the Tequila Patron-sponsored No. 1 HPD ARX-03b that’s regularly entered in the TUDOR Championship.

As a result, that car will miss the TUDOR Championship round, which runs earlier in the day. Brown and Johannes van Overbeek, however, will still pilot the team’s No. 2 HPD in the two-hour and 45-minute race as a solo ESM entry for the IMSA event.

“We figured why not?” Sharp told Sportscar365 in an exclusive interview. “Let’s try it out and see what the series is all about.

“Let’s see see what it’s like to compete against straight P2 cars. Let’s try a different tire and compete against the best P2 cars in the world. We really don’t have anything to lose.”

Sharp and Dalziel currently sit a distant 7th in the TUDOR Championship points standings, and with a more than 50-point deficit, the duo are already essentially eliminated from the title race.

“We’ve had some unfortunate luck and reliability in the No. 1 car and slipped way back in the points,” Sharp said. “It’s obvious that we’re not going to have a good points finish in that car at all.”

Sharp said the team’s entry was approved by the FIA WEC today. It comes on the heels of Corvette Racing announcing its plans to enter the race in GTE-Pro, which was also exclusively revealed by Sportscar365.

At least one additional U.S.-based team has also entered the race.

“I think it will be for all of us, from a strategy and yellow flag/safety car-perspective,” Sharp said. “There’s different minimum drive time for Ed.

“It will also be interesting to hopefully be on more equal footing with the other P2 cars versus where we are in TUSC. I think it will be a good learning experience for us.”

While set to take delivery of two brand-new HPD ARX-04b coupes for 2015, Sharp said they’ve yet to finalize their program for next year and are exploring all options.

“At this point, we’re just checking everything out,” Sharp said. “We’re not really going to know [how the FIA WEC is] unless we go do it.

“Running one of the foreign races [this year] doesn’t really appeal to us as much as just going to COTA and do it.

“I think we’ll see how that goes and see what our impressions are and see how the series is and then try to formulate a plan for ourselves for 2015.”

The addition of the ESM entry into LMP2 should bring the car count in the class up to five entries, joining G-Drive Racing (Morgan-Nissan), KCMG (Oreca-Nissan) and a pair of SMP Racing Oreca-Nissans.

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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