DragonSpeed announced Thursday the addition of a second Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 to its stables with confirmation of a new partnership with Extreme Speed Motorsports and driver Mike Hedlund for the Pirelli World Challenge.
The 36-year-old California native, a regular in ALMS GTC and GRAND-AM GT competition, will make the switch to the growing sprint series this year. The former 458 GRAND-AM, which will be converted to full FIA GT3 spec, will be run under the DragonSpeed + ESM banner.
“After spending the last two years sharing with co-drivers in endurance races, I’m looking forward to being selfish this season and only worrying about going fast,” Hedlund said. “The 458 GT3 is a better car than I am a driver, but I’m aiming to close that gap.”
ESM team owner Scott Sharp added: “We’ve been working with Mike for the last two seasons, and he’s shown himself to be very talented, passionate, and working hard to get himself to the top.
“Elton’s put together a strong technical program we’re very excited about. This will be a great platform for Mike and I’m sure we’re going to see him excel.”
Hedlund joins Ferrari Challenge ace Henrik Hedman in DragonSpeed’s Ferrari program. The team also has plans to field its Audi R8 LMS ultra for the 16-race series.
“I’m excited about our venture into World Challenge,” team owner Elton Julian said. “After the decision to admit GT3 cars, we grabbed the chance to check out the series at Sonoma last season and really liked what we saw.
“Our 2014 program is the result of that. Mike brings tremendous ability and motivation to our effort, and it’s great to see Henrik join the pro ranks after watching him develop from his first race at St. Pete into a frontrunner in Ferrari Challenge.”