With Tequila Patron preparing to sign off as ESM’s primary sponsor, team co-owner Scott Sharp says it’s critical to find a replacement before the new season begins in January.
It means that despite ESM’s wealthy ownership base, landing corporate support will be a requirement for the Florida-based outfit to continue uninterrupted with the Nissan Onroak DPi program it launched in 2017.
“A two-car, front-running DPi program like ours is certainly expensive,” Sharp told RACER. “We need to replace Patron, for sure, to keep going at the level we’re at. We’re open, and there’s many discussions going on for all facets of that.
“The critical point at this stage is we have the best team we’ve ever had, and amazing group of guys, and we’re doing all we can to keep them together.”
Having commissioned a supply of Nissan GT-R GT3 engines from NISMO and a custom version of the JSP217 chassis from Ligier to field its own DPi effort, ESM could, if necessary, save money by switching to the spec version of the French P2 chassis. It’s a scenario Sharp does not welcome.
“At this stage, it makes the most sense to keep running the package we have, we’ve developed it well, have all the partners in place working so well together, and have a large supply of spares,” he said.
“So it makes the most sense for us to go down that road than to start with a new package, but it’s all dependent on what we find for sponsorship.”
IMSA’s current WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season ends on October 13 at Road Atlanta. The first mandatory appearance for its competitors is the January 4-6 Roar Before The 24 at Daytona, giving ESM a rather small window of time to seek and sign a multi-million-dollar sponsor.