Photo: Tequila Patron ESM

ESM reveals super sharp Paul Mitchell liveries for Le Mans

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Because Patrón can’t advertise in France, it leaves Tequila Patrón ESM with the move to rebrand and redesign the colors of its two Ligier JS P2 Nissans that it will race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

And as in 2015, the team has done a great job of redesigning and working around the alcohol restrictions to make the cars looks super sharp.

Last year it was Rolling Stone; this year, it’s Paul Mitchell Systems that take over the branding of the Nos. 30 and 31 cars.

Scott Sharp, Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek share the No. 30 Ligier with Ryan Dalziel, Luis Felipe “Pipo” Derani and Chris Cumming in then No. 31 Ligier. The latter trio finished second in LMP2 in the most recent FIA World Endurance Championship race, the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

Photo: Tequila Patron ESM
Photo: Tequila Patron ESM

“We are so excited that Paul Mitchell has finally arrived to Le Mans racing,” said Paul Mitchell CEO, John Paul DeJoria.

“Our world distributors are looking forward to the race, and all of us thank our family, Patrón Spirits, for making this possible. This Tequila Patrón ESM team won both Sebring and Daytona. Look out France, here we come!”

“We’re so excited to return to Le Mans,” said Brown. “The only downside is French law prohibits us from running the black and green livery with our Tequila Patrón branding, but we are so fortunate to have Paul Mitchell as our primary sponsor for this race! It’s nice to be able to keep it in the family, and join forces to try and win the biggest endurance race in the world.”

“Everyone at Tequila Patrón ESM welcomes Paul Mitchell to our team and the largest Motorsports event in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” said Team Owner Scott Sharp. “We are excited to showcase this incredible brand to the millions of fans that will be watching us go for the top step of the podium!”

Last year’s Rolling Stone livery and this year’s current livery are available to view below for comparisons’ sake.

Sharp, Dalziel and David Heinemeier Hansson’s No. 30 Ligier JS P2 Honda (Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images)
Dalziel, Derani and Cumming in the No. 31 Ligier JS P2 Nissan (Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images)

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.