Tequila Patron ESM back to IMSA for ’17; switches WEC lineup to end ’16

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Two bits of news from the Tequila Patron ESM camp, which won the opening two rounds of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season at Daytona and Sebring and has been on the podium multiple times in the FIA World Endurance Championship, but is yet to win there.

The team on the whole will be back in IMSA full-time next year with a Nissan power unit and two Onroak Automotive Ligier JS P217 chassis, although the stylized bodywork for the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) is yet to be finalized.

“Tequila Patrón ESM has had an incredible experience over the last 24 months going to some amazing race tracks, but we are very excited to return to the IMSA WeatherTech Championship,” said ESM owner Scott Sharp.

“The DPi program is going to be really exciting, and it will be fantastic to be able to compete not only on our home turf, but for the overall win,” added Patrón Spirits President and Tequila Patrón ESM driver Ed Brown. “It’s going to be wonderful to be associated with a world-class brand like Nissan! I think the synergies between the two companies and each of our consumers will give us great opportunities to activate our brands.”

Sharp, Brown and Johannes van Overbeek, meanwhile, have stepped out of the team’s current No. 30 Ligier JS P2 Nissan for the remaining three races of the FIA WEC season.

Instead, the Indonesian branch of KFC, JAGONYA AYAM, will take over the livery and lineup for that car, and will see Giedo van der Garde, Sean Gelael, and Antonio Giovinazzi in the No. 30 car.

“Jagonya Ayam expressed interest in getting a taste of a P2 program, and we already had the car, crew and full season entry,” Sharp said.

“We are really proud to be part of this program with a professional team such as Tequila Patrón ESM,” said JAGONYA AYAM Sporting Manager Francesco Principe. “The cars look competitive and we are confident our line-up will do their best during each session.”

The No. 31 trio of Ryan Dalziel, Pipo Derani and Chris Cumming rounds out the season in the FIA WEC in the lone remaining Patron-liveried car.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”