In addition to testing and recharging, you were able to spend time behind the scenes with the other Tequila Patrón racing team. Talk about your trip to Englishtown. Were you able to work out a trade in horsepower between the Funny Car and the P2 car?
“We had an awesome time in Englishtown. That’s just an unbelievable spectacle. It was 180-degree difference as anything can be from the P2 car, as far as racing goes. To think that you go over 300 miles per hour in four seconds, and keep it in a straight line with that kind of horsepower, versus everything that we do inside the P2 car during one lap. Just to feel the enormity of the power that comes out of those cars – the smells, the fumes – it shakes the ground and tries to pull the air out of your body, literally. It is incredibly impressive. We had a great day up there. It was fun to support Alexis. I’d love to get into her car and make a couple runs. Hopefully, next winter I’m going to be able to do that. I don’t think any of the other guys are willing to do it, but I’ll do it. It will be exciting to try.”
Following last year’s win at Petit, ESM received an invitation to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year. Talk about the changes since last October.
“Our win at Long Beach was thrilling especially since we were able to get that P2 win so early in the season. The win was terrific, but we also realized that we have so much to learn about these cars and performing at that elite level that we aspire to and we know we need to get to that level.
“We’re going to go to race tracks like did at Laguna, where we’ve never seen this car at the track before. We’re not able to test there, it is a different combination of race car and track that we’ve never been on and we’re at a disadvantage to teams that have already run there. That‘s really what this year is all about. I think we’re going to have some great races. We’re going to have tracks where we’ve really got to dig deep and try to learn as rapidly as possible. We’re going to test everywhere we can test and at the tracks where we can’t test, we’ll learn enough along the way that we’ll get much more proficient and we go.
“We’re trying to keep the team’s eye on the ball which is 2014. That is why we made this move. That is why we cancelled going to Le Mans this year because of that effort, the money, the resources and everything we felt it would take for us to get to the top class for 2014, we want to make sure we’re on the forefront of that.”
Since the 2014 season is the target, do you have markers or goals set for the team that you want the team to hit before this season ends? How is that progress?
“Our biggest target is still Level 5. There are strong and the only team we have to compete against and compare ourselves to. They are going to be one of the top teams wherever they go. What better barometer than that? To win one race and to be competitive, leading our first race at Sebring, we’ve made a good showing so far. We have good race pace compared to them. We haven’t quite figured out qualifying as strongly as they have. But I think as every lap goes by, we are getting closer and closer. I’m pleased with the job the team has done, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us.”