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Sharp announces Ferrari GT2 team
Champion race car driver Scott Sharp, who has made his mark everywhere from Trans-Am and Champ Car to IndyCar and the American Le Mans Series, announced Saturday his latest venture in motorsports. The Patr¢n Highcroft Racing star has created and will own a new race team called Extreme Speed Motorsports that will compete in the American Le Mans Series’ GT2 class.

The team will race a Ferrari 430 GTC and be sponsored by The Patr¢n Spirits Company (Tequila Patr¢n) and supported by Ferrari Corse Clienti. Sharp has also named the team’s first driver - Ed Brown, currently a Patr¢n GT3 Challenge by Yokohama driver and American Le Mans Series GT Challenge class driver with ORBIT Racing. Co-drivers will be announced at a later date.

“I’ve worked very closely with Ed for the past three years, and I’m impressed with his growth and maturity on the track,” said Sharp, who leads the American Le Mans Series’ LMP1 championship with David Brabham heading into the season’s final race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

“The GT2 field will undoubtedly be very tough, but I’m confident that Ed’s approach will prove successful for the team. And I am ecstatic that our new team will be partnered with such iconic brands as Patr¢n Tequila and Ferrari Corse Clienti. We’ve had a great year at Patr¢n Highcroft Racing, and I’m looking forward to combining my own racing with Brabs and the boys with team ownership next year.”

Sharp has scored three victories with teammate Brabham for Patr¢n Highcroft Racing in the 2009 American Le Mans Series and also contested this year’s Indianapolis 500 aboard a Patr¢n-sponsored entry.

Team sponsor Patr¢n is a longtime supporter of motorsports, and brings a popular presence at American Le Mans Series races.

“Scott’s impressive career has made him one of the most accomplished competitors in racing. It’s a tremendous honor to drive for his new Extreme Speed Motorsports team,” said Brown, whose best finish in GT Challenge class this season was a runner-up position at Lime Rock Park.

“Ferrari Corse Clienti is committed to keeping the Prancing Horse name at the highest levels of racing in the U.S., and we’re excited to count among our rows the new Extreme Speed Motorsports team,” said Ferrari’s Maurizio Nardon. “We welcome Scott and his team, and look forward to a long and fruitful cooperation.”

“We’re excited and proud to associate the Tequila Patr¢n name with Extreme Speed Motorsports and Ferrari,” commented Matt Carroll, Patr¢n’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Our association with motorsports, and the iconic brands and top-notch teams in this premier racing series, fits perfectly with our ultra-premium Patr¢n brand. We’re looking forward to another great season in 2010.”

Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series added, “The announcement of this new team fulfills the vision we had when we launched the Patr¢n GT3 Challenge by Yokohama. This is especially gratifying because it involves individuals who have participated with us at other levels of competition, and are ready to do battle now in the Series’ most competitive class.

“When we created the GT Challenge class, it was designed so those drivers could progress to GT2. Clearly that’s what has happened in this case, and it is evidence that the plan is working. Ed and Scott form a unique team. They are the perfect pair to be the first to announce a venture of this type. I suspect this is only the first example of a new American Le Mans Series program growing out of the IMSA and Series ladder system."

The American Le Mans Series opens its season in 2010 with the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on March 20.

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