A tight timeline and need for further development on the new HPD ARX-04bs has required a change in course for Tequila Patron ESM. The new coupes needed further development before their homologation date, 30 days before the season opener, and the car would have been locked in once homologated.
The team will instead run the existing open-top, tried and true HPD ARX-03bs at their next three track appearances, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the Prologue at Paul Ricard and FIA World Endurance Championship season opening Six Hours of Silverstone.
From Spa in May, the team will switch to two new Ligier JS P2 Honda coupes for the rest of the team’s LMP2 campaign.
“After being with Honda for 10 years and knowing Nick Wirth, undoubtedly the ARX-04b will fulfill its expectation with some additional development,” said Scott Sharp, ESM team owner and driver.
“Quite simply, that will take a bit of time and we’re racing against the clock with the homologation deadline and start of the WEC season around the corner.
“To ensure a successful WEC season and championship run for Tequila Patrón ESM and HPD, we have decided our best opportunity to win races and the LMP2 title this season is to compete with an existing homologated chassis.”
“We very much appreciate the effort that Tequila Patrón ESM has undertaken on HPD’s behalf to get the ARX-04b on track and helping to identify teething issues with our new chassis. We are naturally disappointed that we are not yet ready for homologation, but we cannot homologate a car that is not yet meeting all of its targets,” said Steve Eriksen, HPD vice president and chief operating officer.