ESM racing the clock to firm up 2019 plans

Image by Scott LePage/LAT

ESM racing the clock to firm up 2019 plans


ESM racing the clock to firm up 2019 plans


Extreme Speed Motorsports co-owner Scott Sharp and his partner Ed Brown have a narrow window in time to find and sign a replacement for outgoing primary sponsor Tequila Patron. Although the 2018 season is still a few weeks away from its conclusion at Petit Le Mans, Sharp also knows the Florida-based ESM squad and its Nissan Onroak DPis have 101 days and counting to turn up for the mandatory Roar Before the 24 test at Daytona.

Winners of two IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races in 2018, including the most recent round in Monterey, ESM finds itself with one foot in the present — trying to garner more headlines at IMSA’s season finale — while chasing future replacements for Patron in order to keep the two-car DPi program intact.

Fighting for wins while fighting to stay afloat, as Sharp shares, has made for an interesting close to the championship.

“We’re working hard and have a lot of irons in the fire,” he told RACER. “Hopefully we’re going to find a way to make one or two parts come together. Time’s ticking, and it’s late in the season, but we have some interesting things going on.”

Image by Richard Dole/LAT

ESM’s unique place in the DPi paddock, where its affiliation with Nissan does not involve financial investments from the Japanese brand, has Sharp and Brown hunting for a rare bird in the Prototype class. With most DPi teams supported by manufacturer funding or drivers who pay for the opportunity to race, traditional full-budget sponsors are sparse. And with some of the finer professional drivers on its payroll, going the route of budget-wielding pilots could reduce ESM’s competitiveness.

“As I’ve said from the beginning, I really believe we have an amazing team and all I want to do is keep them together,” Sharp continued. “A lot of people have moved here, they’re part of our everyday lives, and they make us what we are. They’re fantastic and we want to do to keep things the way they are or do whatever we have to keep trucking along.”

Even with the Roar 101 days away, Sharp says it’s too soon to predict what ESM will look like once 2019 arrives.

“The obvious thing is we want to stay at two cars and make no changes,” he added. “But we also have to be practical that changes, in some shape or form, could take place because these cars are expensive to field. It could be one (full-time) car and a second for the endurance races, or who knows? It all depends on how things shake out, but we aren’t going into things aiming for anything less than what we’re doing now.”