Driver shakeup for Extreme Speed Motorsports in LMP2

by Daniel Lloyd

Extreme Speed Motorsports has announced significant changes to its driver lineup for the remaining three rounds of the 2016 World Endurance Championship.

The American team, which runs a pair of Nissan-powered Ligier JSP2s in the LMP2 prototype class, will run three new drivers in its #30 car.

Giedo van der Garde, Sean Gelael and Antonio Giovinazzi will join forces at Fuji, Shanghai and Bahrain, while the #31 car’s lineup of Pipo Derani, Ryan Dalziel and Chris Cumming remains the same.

The car will receive new backing from the Indonesian branch of KFC, which is run by Ricardo Gelael, father of Sean.

That means it will appear in the yellow and red Jagonya Ayam livery which Gelael and Giovinazzi have raced with in European Formula 3 and the Asian Le Mans Series.

“We are really proud to be part of this program with a professional team such as Tequila Patrón ESM,” said sporting manager at Jagonya Ayam Francesco Principe. “The cars look competitive and we are confident our line-up will do their best during each session.”

The trio will replace Scott Sharp, Johannes van Overbeek and Patron Spirits CEO Ed Brown in the WEC. The distinctive green livery of Tequila Patron will continue to grace the #31 car at the coming races.

As for ESM’s newest recruits, Van der Garde is best-known for his time in Formula One, which included 19 starts for Caterham and test driver roles with Sauber and Force India.

The Dutchman became involved with endurance racing at the start of 2016, when he joined Jota Sport/G-Drive Racing for its European Le Mans Series campaign. He is currently second in the championship with two rounds remaining.

Gelael and Giovinazzi, meanwhile, have raced together in European Formula 3, with Double R Racing in 2013 and Carlin in 2014. They have since graduated to the GP2 Series in 2016, with Giovinazzi currently second in the standings.

The pair also teamed up to win the final two rounds of the 2015-16 Asian Le Mans Series season, driving a Eurasia Motorsport-entered ORECA 03. In April, Gelael and Giovinazzi piloted a Jagonya Ayam-liveried BR Engineering BR01 at the Silverstone round of the European Le Mans Series, finishing fifth in a car shared with Mitch Evans.

The trio will begin their World Endurance Championship campaign at the 6 Hours of Fuji on October 16.

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