Scott Sharp feels the talent on show during this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona will make the event somewhat of a special occasion, with the American veteran feeling there are plenty of teams who could walk away with the Prototype class victory.
Sharp, who will share the driving duties with Ryan Dalziel and Olivier Pla at Tequila Patrón ESM for this weekend’s twice-around-the-clock event at the Daytona International Speedway, hopes that the team can show good speed once again at the circuit having come close to victory twelve months ago.
The car has been developed since, and Sharp believes they are in a much stronger position to go for the win than they were back in 2017, but the depth in talent, particularly in the Prototype class, will make it so much harder to achieve.
“An amazing Rolex 24 is on store for this week!” said Sharp. “It will be a nail biting, aggressive sprint race over the course of 24 hours. Almost every Prototype car has great talent behind the wheel and a legitimate chance to win.
“Tequila Patrón ESM looks to carry our momentum from the close of the 2017 season into Daytona. The team has put huge effort in over the last few months and we are coming at this race much stronger than a year ago!”
Team-mate Dalziel says the Rolex 24 at Daytona is the ‘Super Bowl’ of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and having won the event before and stood on the podium, he knows how to succeed at DIS, but like Sharp he knows the talented field of teams and drivers will make it less predictable.
“Daytona is our super bowl and winning it is one of the greatest accomplishments a team and driver can achieve,” said Dalziel. “I’ve won it, as has Tequila Patrón ESM, and I’ve been on the podium multiple times.
“We know what it takes to succeed, but this year may be the toughest Rolex 24 for some time due to new teams, new cars, and many unknowns. We are confident in our reliability and believe we have the speed to succeed.”
Pla, who is joining full-time drivers Sharp and Dalziel for the season-opening race at DIS, admits he is impatient to get going, with the Frenchman hoping they are still in contention for the overall win when it truly matters at the end of the race.
“We are all super impatient for the Rolex 24!” insisted Pla. “We worked hard in the Roar test to improve our car balance, but the conditions will be very different for the race with a warmer weather.
“The guys at Tequila Patrón ESM are working really hard for the final details before the race. The 24 Hours of Daytona are all about surviving until the last three hours of the race to make sure we are at the right place for the final hours with a good car to race hard at the end! I can’t wait.”