American Le Mans Series GTC standout Mike Hedlund will join Ferrari Challenge star Henrik Hedman in DragonSpeed’s assault on this year’s Pirelli World Challenge, driving a pair of Ferrari 458 GT3 racers in the 16-race series run over nine weekends.
Hedlund will be entered under the DragonSpeed/Extreme Speed Motorsports banner, reflecting his continuing relationship with the Scott Sharp team.
“After spending the last two years sharing with co-drivers in endurance races, I’m looking forward to being selfish this season and only worrying about going fast,” said Hedlund. “The 458 GT3 is a better car than I am a driver, but I’m aiming to close that gap. Being a series rookie means less external pressure to perform, but behind the scenes I’ll be pushing to progress as fast as I can. I’m trusting my training regimen of sim racing, shifter karts, dirt bikes, donuts, and Patrón to keep me sharp! With help from my old friends at ESM and new friends at DragonSpeed, I hope we’ll open some eyes, have some fun along the way, and entertain the fans.”
The 36-year-old Hedlund from Woodside, Calif., has driven in a variety of GT equipment and classes in his brief but impressive career, finishing sixth in last year’s ALMS GTC standings, and enjoying a lone Daytona Prototype outing in the 2013 Grand-Am finale.
His near-namesake Hedman, age 45, enjoyed a breakthrough season in Ferrari Challenge in 2013, the Florida-based Swede taking four victories on his way to third in the final points plus a front-row start at the World Finals in Italy. DragonSpeed continued to build its own reputation in 2013, quickly establishing itself as a pacesetter in the ALMS LMPC class and making its mark on the world GT enduro scene at Dubai and Bathurst.
“I couldn’t be prouder to be part of bringing the Ferrari marque to World Challenge and am also looking forward to the personal challenge,” said Hedman. “After our test at COTA, I feel very positive about the team. Elton’s done a fantastic job putting together the best people out there. Knowing the car will be right means I can really focus on my own performance. Adding another car strengthens our program technically, so Mike’s arrival is good news as well.”