Photo courtesy of grand-am.com The No. 03 Tequila Patr—n Ferrari 458 of Extreme Speed Motorsports is expected to challenge for both Rolex 24 and Sebring GT victories
published: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Extreme Speed Motorsports is doing double duty
Several teams that will compete in the Jan. 26-27 Rolex 24 At Daytona also are slated to participate in another classic American sports car racing event, the March 16 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.
Doing so, however, requires similar preparation but altogether separate cars.
Among organizations doing double duty is Extreme Speed Motorsports, whose No. 03 Tequila Patrón Ferrari 458 is expected to challenge for both Rolex 24 and Sebring GT victories.
"The race week at Sebring is strung out over the whole week and we get more track time than we do at Daytona leading up to the race," said Robin Hill, ESM's director of operations. "I would think we would run close to the same mileage at the two events even though the race length is double at Daytona, so spare part preparation is about the same."
The biggest challenge is keeping the crew rested.
The Rolex 24 begins in late afternoon, runs through the night and into the following afternoon.
Sebring starts in daylight but ends at night.
"If the crew is worn out before the race then you can't expect them to perform at 100-percent during the race," said Hill. "You really have to keep the guys focused and try to get them some rest between pit stops but as we stop about every 45 minutes it's hard for them to get much rest.
"Keeping the whole team fed is another key because engines can't run without fuel and at 4 a.m. when it's wet and cold they need something warm and nutritious to keep them going."
While both ESM's GRAND-AM and American Le Mans Series entries are Ferrari 458s, there are subtle differences between the cars.
The GRAND-AM car closely resembles the popular GT3 spec found in Europe and is a more cost-effective version than the ALMS GT2 Ferrari.
It carries many production-based pieces including some suspension parts.
The GT2 race car has all purpose-built components - sometimes lighter but more expensive.
Drivetrains and gearboxes are essentially the same.
The GT2 car carries a smaller air restrictor and makes less power than the GRAND-AM version.
The body of the GT2 car also is wider, partially to accommodate wider tires.
"From a driver's perspective, the inside cockpit of the two 458s are quite similar with the same paddle shift system and many of the same driver ergonomics," said Scott Sharp, ESM's owner and co-driver in next week's race with Ed Brown, Mike Hedlund and Johannes van Overbeek.
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