Q&A with Ed Brown on the
FIA World Endurance Championship Test at COTA
STUART, Fla., – Sept. 12, 2014 – On Wednesday, Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) took its first steps towards conquering the world of international motorsports racing. The Florida-based team participated in a one-day test at Circuit of the Americas in advance of the Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of The Americas on Sept. 19-20.
Last month the team announced its entry into the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) at the Six Hours of Circuit of the Americas. This week, the newly christened No. 30 Tequila Patrón Honda Performance Development ARX-03b (HPD) turned laps for the first time at the hands of co-drivers Scott Sharp, Ed Brown and Ryan Dalziel.
In the last few weeks, ESM has made several modifications to the race car. In addition to installing a smaller restrictor, modifying the aerodynamics, installing a different electronics package to comply with the regulations set by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), the sanctioning body of the FIA WEC, ESM received several sets of Dunlop Tires.
Extreme Speed Motorsports will compete in both the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race and make its FIA WEC debut at the Six Hours of Circuit of the Americas.
Brown is preparing for a double shot of racing next weekend. The Tequila Patrón President/CEO and University of Texas-Austin graduate will run in both the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race with season-long co-driver Johannes van Overbeek. He will then share co-drive during the FIA WEC race with Sharp and Dalziel.
Below is a question and answer session with Brown on the FIA WEC test, comparing the two race cars and his Lone Star Le Mans weekend expectations.
Q: How was the test?
BROWN: “The test went really well. We had a full checklist and probably didn’t get all the run time we wanted, but we got through the majority of the list. We went through the tire comparison pretty quick and then we started to tune the car.
“We lost the track for a while because it got so hot. The track was really good in the morning because it was cooler and overcast. I think that might have tricked everybody into thinking how good the car really was. Then later in the afternoon it was brutally hot – 102 degrees. It was really taking a toll on the drivers and the crew.
“All in all, it was a good day. We are confident that we learned enough about the tire to be able to get something going when we show up next week.”
Q: You mentioned the tire comparison. How were the Dunlop tires?
BROWN: “The Dunlop tires were fantastic. We had the proper tire for our car. Without even pushing the car that hard, we were two seconds quicker a lap. Ryan ran a couple of laps on both the Continental and Dunlop Tires and easily posted the quicker laps on the Dunlops.”
Q: What are the main similarities or differences in the IMSA and WEC race cars?
BROWN: “The car under braking was pretty much the same. With the Dunlops on it, it was begging us to go deeper into the turns. When you went deeper in the turn, you lifted the brake and carried huge corner speed and the car just takes it. All of us where surprised how much corner speed the Dunlops were taking. That’s what our car was built around – that type of tire.”
Q: How was the Honda performance?
BROWN: “It was good. We had a brand new HPD engine that was lighter. We had some transmission issues early on, but we resolved that quick. The WEC car is slower because it is restricted more (by the series) compared to IMSA. But the car will be four seconds faster around COTA because of the tires.”
Q: You are going to have a busy schedule next week racing in both the IMSA and WEC races.
BROWN: “It is going to be a rough week. I’m working on making sure I’m well-rested and physically ready for all the track time. A challenge for me next week will be to remember what car I’m in, and what session because the cars, performance-wise, will be so different. I don’t need to get myself caught out somewhere thinking the car is able to do something that it’s not able to do. It will take some schedule juggling. I’ll spend enough time in each car to get a feel for the car and tires and what it is capable of during practices.
“On race day, I’ll complete my IMSA stint and turn the car over to Johannes. Then rest mentally and physically before the WEC race. Saturday will be the toughest day and the most important. We need to manage our time in the car especially when we factor in the weather. We’re still working on the logistics and timing for stints and time in the car.”
Q: What did you like best about driving the WEC car?
BROWN: “At first it wasn’t that easy because you know the tire is really good, so you have the tendency to overdrive the car. Plus we used tire warmers, so we’re coming out of the box full grip. What’s strange is that the tire cools off towards the end of the lap. My first lap out in the second to the last turn, I was sideways. I didn’t hit anything and then I hear Ryan on the radio, ‘I forgot to tell you, you’ve got to let these tires come back to you because they come out so hot.’ So that took some time ?getting used to.”
Q: Tequila Patrón is also making its WEC Debut next weekend.
BROWN: “It is pretty cool that a world class brand like Tequila Patrón is going into a world class racing series like the WEC and exposing the WEC fans to Patrón. I think that’s a nice combination. We’re glad to be racing in TUDOR and WEC. This is a big weekend for the team and Tequila Patrón.”