Guy Cosmo, co-driver of the Tequila Patrón-sponsored Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) P2 racing machine, took to the track for the first time during a private test at Sebring International Raceway last week. Cosmo eagerly approaches the season already a P2 race winner with a 2005 victory in a Mazda-powered prototype. Cosmo talks about the pre-season test session, the difference in racing P2 and his goals for the season.
In mid-February, ESM announced it would compete in American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patrón P2 class in 2013. ESM will campaign two purpose-built Honda Performance Development ARX-03b prototypes beginning with the 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida in March.
Recently, Cosmo took a few minutes out of his busy testing schedule to sit down and answer a few questions about the ALMS, the new car, and more.
How are you feeling?
“I’m feeling great! The year definitely started out as a surprise for me, but I’m back up and running and really looking forward to this season.”
Last week’s ESM P2 test session at Sebring International Raceway was your first time on track this season. How did it go?
“It went really well. I was so happy to get back behind the wheel and do what I do best. It’s been really strange to have not driven for a couple of months, so now I’m feeling back to normal.”
As a driver that has been in all types of race cars, how easy is it to transition into the P2 car?
“Hopping back into a P2 car is just great. They are incredible machines. The transition to the P2 from the ALMS GT car is actually quite a bit easier than expected, which I believe is a testament to just how extraordinary the ALMS-GT-spec cars are. On the other hand, however, the P2 car definitely has a different set of capabilities and strengths, so adapting to them and learning how to capitalize on them is always a fun challenge. I love it.”
As the final ALMS season before the North American sports car merger, what goals/expectations have you set for yourself and for the team?
“My goals for this final season of the ALMS as we know it, is to put myself in the record books somehow. Pole positions, class track records and fastest race laps – along with some race wins and possibly a championship. You know, I’d like to just be in front of everyone all the time and win everything too!”
Is an overall win possible for ESM now that the team is in the P2 class?
“It is a possibility. But the P1 cars are definitely a good amount faster than the P2s still, unlike a few years ago. It would likely take for the P1s to have some setbacks during the race for us to have a shot at it, but you keep pressing. No matter what, we’ll do our best to put ESM near the top as we can.”
What is your favorite part about driving the P2 car so far?
“Being able to pass all my previous GT competitors real easily, which was formerly a very difficult task.”
Moving from GT to P2 is a big jump in car classes and placement on the track. Is there an adjustment in driving style?
“There will be an adjustment for sure. In GT, you’re really in the lower part of the performance chart. You’re faster than the GTCs, but have PC, P2 and P1 all faster than you and passing, while you’re racing your own fierce battle. In GT, you’re nearly looking in your mirrors more than you’re looking in front of you. In P2, we’ll have the luxury of being one of the fastest cars on track, but working your way through all the slower traffic will be very tricky for sure. You’ll have to be aggressive but very careful.”
In addition to testing the new P2 car last week, ESM tested some other race cars including the GRAND-AM, Ferrari Challenge cars. How did that go?
“The testing went well for both teams. ESM remains committed to running the GRAND-AM GT Ferrari and the Ferrari Challenge team in addition to the full-time ALMS P2 program, so the shop and crew stay extremely busy. Improvements were definitely made in both cars and we’re ready to race in all series!”
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