Tequila Patrón Extreme Speed Motorsports had a disappointing start to their 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship campaign, with the #30 car disqualified from finishing 3rd in LMP2 and the #31 finishing 6th in class at Sunday’s 6 Hours of Silverstone.
The #30 HPD ARX-03b of Scott Sharp, Ryan Dalziel and David Heinemeier Hansson started from P5, and Dalziel eventually made his way up to P3 before handing the car over to Heinemeier Hansson after a 90 minute stint.
Damage was caused to the left rear of the car after contact with a GTE car, and so Heinemeier Hansson pitted and Sharp took control of the prototype, which was still 3rd in class. Dalziel later took the car again and finished the race 3rd in the LMP2 category.
“It was an up-and-down stint” explains Heinemeier Hansson. “The car was really solid once it hit the sweet spot with about half a tank of fuel. We cured the problems we had in qualifying. Ryan ran some impressive laps in his stint and [made] the car look really good. I’m not sure how he did it, because I could not keep up with the Ligiers. My stint was tough because of the wind. That is probably the most difficult stint I’ve had in a while. This was three times harder than a Sebring stint.”
The second ESM car was the #31, ran by Ed Brown, David Brabham and Jon Fogarty. The latter started the race from P8, and gained two positions in the first half-hour before pitting with brake issues, which were discovered to be the result of an oil leak.
After a half-hour pit stop, Fogarty returned to the track in P7 and soon gave the car over to Brown. Brabham took the final shift of the race, filling in for the injured Johannes van Overbeek, and finished the race 7th in the LMP2 class.
Ed Brown was still getting used to the track for the start of the race, but says that “We all logged plenty of seat time. I’m leaving Silverstone knowing the track better than I left it. Had we not had early issues, I think we would have been on the podium with the #30 guys. The ARX-03b fought a good fight, but we still needed a bit more to keep pace with the competition.”
Following the post-race inspection, the #30 car was disqualified from 3rd position as the floor had too much wear. This meant that the #31 moved up to 6th position.
The next race for the ESM team in the FIA WEC will be the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, on May 2.