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WEATHERTECH SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP: ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA


January 31, 2016


Ed Brown

Pipo Derani

Scott Sharp

Johannes van Overbeek


Daytona Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: It's my pleasure now to announce the overall winners of the 2016 Rolex 24, the winning team of the No.2 Prototype Tequila Patrón ESM JS P2, Scott Sharp, Ed Brown, Johannes van Oberbeek and Pipo Derani. Pipo, what a run for you there at the end. You were on the wheel in those closing laps. Can you talk about just closing out this victory for your team?
PIPO DERANI: Yeah, the last two hours and a half was pretty tough one, pretty intense one with the Taylor brothers pushing us really hard trying to victory, and trying to not make any mistakes and keep the gap and increase the gap up to the end was amazing. I need to thank my team for the amazing car they gave me.
THE MODERATOR: Johannes, can you talk about the survival aspect of this race, because you saw the leaders in this class falling one by one but that you were always there to capitalize?
JOHANNES van OVERBEEK: Well, I think it speaks to the competitiveness of the series and how hard everyone has to push not only themselves but their equipment and their crews to have a shot at winning this race, and for that reason, I can't say enough about Patrón ESM for the group of people they put together in conjunction with Onroak. The car was absolutely flawless. The motor ran perfectly. Continental Tires worked great. No issues, aside from little contact early on, but other than that, the car was flawless.
THE MODERATOR: Ed, can you talk about your stint out there and bringing home this trophy?
ED BROWN: Yeah, mine wasn't very long. You know, the one thing that I think everybody knows on the team is that all I really care about is winning for the team, because it's a team effort, and anybody that doesn't think this is a team sport, they're crazy. We knew early. We knew at the roar that we really had a good car, and if we just took care of her the way we needed to, we were going to be right there. That was really the main goal I think from all of us was to make sure that we were on that lead lap with a couple hours to go and see what would happen. Everybody just did a fantastic job.
THE MODERATOR: Scott, what was it about this team that really put itself in position to be a championship team here in the Rolex 24?
SCOTT SHARP: Wow. I think first, ESM has been in business for six years, and when you have a supporter like Tequila Patrón and Ed, you want to deliver wins like this, and 2015 was a bit of a rough year for us. We made a lot of changes as November rolled around, and to see, I guess, all that culminate together and to come out of the box and win a big race like this is just huge for us.
I think a lot of the work that we've decided we needed to do to get our team to a whole 'nother level, to take our best guys to basically merge them with some of the best people from Onroak, and they've been tremendously supportive with the Ligier chassis is just‑‑ it's already paying benefits, obviously.
But I looked around at the podium and I wanted to say to everybody and all of a sudden they were just ushered off, is you can't even begin‑‑ every single person has done so much to get this to happen, and it was really cool as a team to see everybody come together: Honda, the guys, the preparation for the guys, all of our core ESM guys, the engineers from Onroak, Pipo, Johannes. It's got to come together to win something like this.

Q. Scott, you won this race with Wayne Taylor in '96. Now you just beat him in this race. What's your thoughts on that?
SCOTT SHARP: Yeah, geez, I hadn't looked it that way. You made me feel old, too.
You know, that was a great win early in my career, no doubt. It was a fun race. A lot of people have recounted it this week. But you know, Wayne takes his stuff very seriously and puts forth an incredible effort, has great drivers, and I knew‑‑ we all knew, I think the DPs would come on strong in the race, and they did, and they seemed‑‑ okay, Pipo did an incredible job in the beginning, posted a heck of a fastest lap, but I think lap in and lap out, they showed they could match something pretty close to us, and certainly when it came down to the shootout of the last few hours, I think you saw the top three or four DPs able to be pretty close. Even people said‑‑ you guys can ask him, but he couldn't shake them at the end very much when he wanted to.
It's rewarding certainly beat them, but I think most importantly for us as a team going forward, the big thing is the win.

Q. Ed and Scott, a couple years ago you guys made the decision you were going to go the P2 route, were going to pursue the WEC, a very, very big decision, a big program. Scott, you just alluded to you had some big problems last year, you've made some car changes. It's been a big, big program. It's come around and it's been successful. Could you just both of you talk a little bit about the technical issues? Ed, maybe you could address some of the marketing issues about this whole thing. But if you could tackle that a little bit, please.
ED BROWN: Well, the marketing stuff was easy. The racing stuff was really hard. We just put our team through a lot. We had the 04B that that's what we thought we were going to race with and we had a disaster in Daytona last year and we had to switch back to the 03B for Sebring and then Silverstone, and then we jumped into a Ligier in Spa and none of us really had any time in the car. We had podiumed in our first WEC race in Austin the year before, and we thought we were going to go to the WEC and kind of dominate, and we got our butts kicked all year. It was really a hard year.
To be able to come back this year, as Scott said, and put our best people with Onroak's best people and really put together what we think is one of the best teams that we could possibly do and have the manufacturers and stuff behind us, we're looking forward to this year after today.

Q. Johannes, as one who's made his name in this sport as class within class in GT racing, tell me the feeling sitting up there as the overall winner in prototype.
JOHANNES van OVERBEEK: Well, thankfully I was reflecting on this win in IMSA, and with the P2 car, Ed and I have won two of the three races that have been won in a P2 car. A P2 car has never won this race. So at Laguna when we won overall, I sort of thought about that, and it's‑‑ when you start out racing GT cars, you're always kind of the red‑haired stepchild, and my apologies to any red‑haired stepchildren. You never get the love. You never really get the TV time unless it's some epic battle, but to win it overall, not very many people can say that, and to be a part of it with this group, it just hasn't sunk in. It's amazing.

Q. Scott, as far as I know, your program is now switching over to the WEC. Winning the Rolex 24 now, are you modifying your plan? And you mentioned earlier that you have engineering stuff from Onroak, French people from Ligier. Did they teach you already to use the French language?
SCOTT SHARP: You almost need that to understand them on the radio. Luckily they were very nice. We made a chassis‑‑ an engineering change with a few races to go last year, and Onroak was nice enough to rent us, loan us, whatever, one of their engineers, Matthieu, who did an incredible job today and is going to be a major part of our program this year.
But it's just‑‑ we're going to run Sebring. That's always been our plan, to run Daytona and Sebring, so that continues, and sort of it's worked out really uniquely. We took the best I'd say 10 guys from our team, and we pretty much are mating them with maybe a few more guys from Oak, basing all of our stuff we moved from the UK to their LeMans shop. But simultaneously, our guys pretty much have run the majority of these two races while our cars‑‑ and we rented one of their cars, actually shipped it over here, because both of our cars are getting switched over to the Nissan engines to run the entire WEC series, and that's not an easy change. So we'll start early testing with those cars here soon, and the way it's all panned out, it's almost amazing. It's just worked out perfectly.

Q. Pipo, you had never been in a sports car race and you've never been in the United States; is that correct?
PIPO DERANI: No, I did the whole WEC last year, but this is my first sports car racing here in America, and my first Rolex 24.

Q. Did we understand television right that you kept having alarms go off during the last couple hours with your telemetry?
PIPO DERANI: Yeah, we had an alarm of the gearbox temperature and an alarm of the power steering, which was a little bit scary in the last few hours, and I was just asking for the car not to give up on me on the last 30 minutes. But I think maybe it was just a sensor or the engineer, Matthieu, always kept me really relaxed. Anyhow, I think it was just an alarm coming off. After 24 hours, the car, the alarms was coming on.
We were allowed to turn it off, but it came on many times. We can turn it off but not completely, so it will come up again once it wants to show you something.

Q. How many times did it come on?
PIPO DERANI: Many times, like more than 20 I would say.

Q. Talk a little bit about the camaraderie you have among your team members and then the camaraderie amongst so many great drivers out there, the number of drivers, and then to be able to take that win amongst such great drivers.
SCOTT SHARP: I'll start with that and then you guys can chime in. One thing, continuity is really important to us at ESM, and Johannes has been here since it first started. He's been here six years, and hopefully he'll have another six years. And Ed and I are best friends. So we all get along, and I want success for them more than I want success for myself. I think that's played a large part in who we brought into the team. When we first made a decision to bring Ryan deal a couple of years ago, he just fit in fantastically, he gets it, he's a team player, and he's become one of our brothers pretty much, and we look at Pipo much in the same way. This is a family, and we're going to take care of you week in and week out.
I'll let anyone else that wants to talk about the drivers that we race against.
ED BROWN: Yeah, I mean, for me it's like you have to pinch yourself that I was even on the same paddock with probably some of the greatest drivers that have ever drove. But you know, the great thing about Patrón ESM is we are like family. We could have got faster drivers over the years, but we knew that we just wouldn't get along with them, as well, and we felt like it was more important to get along as a team. I'd say none of us, the three core guys that we've been around from day one, we've never had cross words ever, and I think that's unusual for teammates to say that, especially when you're in sister cars with each other and stuff like that.

Q. Scott, I've got two questions. Number one, any time you do a first at Daytona, it's a big deal. You're the first team to bring Honda home a winner. Can you talk about that?
SCOTT SHARP: Yeah, that's huge. I mean, and Art St. Cyr is here and Steve Eriksen, and we had a rough year last year. We were the only guys running the Honda in the WEC, and came to them at the end of the year and said what we thought was the right decision to make for the WEC for next year but said how excited we were to run the new engine they were doing for here, and I can't say enough, and I said to them today, they delivered on every front here. The motor has obviously got great power, it's incredible drivable, it's had great fuel mileage today, so very reliable. They killed it.

Q. When the No.60 car, which is on paper identical to your car, same chassis, same motor, when they had their problems, did that worry you guys at all?
SCOTT SHARP: Sure. Any time it does. We've all been here before and had a partnering team sharing the same manufacturer and have it go out and watched it hit multiple other cars. But Art was the first guy to come over, and he said‑‑ they've been running this engine for a while, I don't know how much you guys know about that, but it's been in off‑road, it's been in World Challenge, so this same engine has run for a while, so it's not like it's brand new, and they said they've never, ever had one problem with the motor, never broken one of them, so they were stunned when it happened to Mike Shank's team. I think they felt pretty confident it wasn't going to happen to ours, as well.

Q. Pipo, growing up what were your images of Daytona and this race, and coming here what were you thinking it was going to be like and what did it‑‑ did it meet your expectations or was it about what you expected?
PIPO DERANI: You know, as a Brazilian kid, I grew up pretty much looking to Formula1, and having that dream, especially because Ayrton Senna came from Brazil and he did what he did, we all know. I made my choice to change to endurance racing pretty early in my career, and I couldn't have made a better choice. And to be able to experience LeMans and Daytona 24, the two biggest 24 hours in the world is just amazing. It definitely‑‑ I expected this, and it gave me this.
The whole people around and the atmosphere was just immense, great, and to be able to be part of this on victory lane is just amazing.
THE MODERATOR: Ed, not only did you win the Rolex 24 here today, but you're leaving here today as the leaders in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. Is there any special bonus for the guys for leaving the Rolex 24 with the lead today?
ED BROWN: Yeah. I'm going to get them really drunk.
No, Patrón has been honored enough to do this for a couple years, and Scott and I said the first year, we're like, we've got to win one of them, and we just never could scratch it, and we had a chance a couple years ago at Sebring, and it didn't pan out. But no, it feels great to finally get one and get a jump start, and we look forward to‑‑ Sebring is our home track, and we look forward to going to Sebring and seeing what this car can do there.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, gentlemen, on the overall Rolex 24 win, and good luck at Sebring.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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