Amid the announcement of primary sponsor Tequila Patrón planning an exit at the conclusion of the season, Extreme Speed Motorsports confirmed it will return to its standard form as a two-car team for the remainder of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar.
Forced to run a single Nissan Onroak DPi at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park due to escalating engine problems, team co-owner Scott Sharp says the issues that plagued the NISMO-prepared Nissan GT-R GT3 powerplants have been sufficiently addressed by the Japanese brand.
“[NISMO] went to some lighter internal parts over the winter on their GT3 cars, and for some reason, they just aren’t mileaging out on our cars,” ESM co-owner Scott Sharp told RACER. “So, that’s been what’s going on. We’re going to go back to what we ran last year on a couple of pieces that ran fine. And I think we’ll have the reliability back that we need and have both cars going for now on.”
With the only production-based engine in IMSA’s DPi category, Sharp gave credit to NISMO for its response time to past and present motor issues.
“We had problems issues at the beginning of last year, and I think it’s just part of the engine being a stressed engine in the prototype instead of being cradled in a GT car,” he continued. “It’s built on the same production line at the normal GT-R engine, so it took us a while to upgrade some of the external things like the oiling system to get reliability. We worked through that with the top people at NISMO — they aren’t happy when any of their customers face problems. And to their credit, they jumped in to help improve things very quickly with what we’ve had of late.”
Parking one Nissan Onroak DPi while changes were made to rotating pieces inside the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6s was far from optimal, but Sharp witnessed an intense effort by a representative from NISMO to keep the Tequila Patrón ESM program on track during the most difficult times.
“We basically had to makeshift an engine at CTMP,” he said. “He flew from Tokyo and on Wednesday, he was in our trailer with parts everywhere to put it together so it could go into the No. 22 car. We had a second motor show up Thursday night, but with the reliability issues we were having, we didn’t think going racing with one engine per car was the right direction.
“So we kept the No. 2 in the trailer, and then they surprised us by getting a third engine to us during the weekend. Going with one was the right move, and with the time they’ve had after CTMP going into Road America in a few weeks, we should be fine and have enough motors for both cars.”