UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS ALUM ED BROWN READY FOR DOUBLE DUTY AT LONE STAR LE MANS
Extreme Speed Motorsports driver Ed Brown says the challenge of racing sports cars naturally appeals to his competitive nature.
“I’ve done a lot of hard things in my life, but driving a race car against the best guys in the world at full speed for as long as you’re in the car, sometimes it’s mind-boggling,” Brown said.Brown, 51, has ties to Austin after earning a business degree from the University of Texas.He said he gets back to Austin two or three times a year.
“I love Austin, Texas. There’s a lot of places we race that I don’t think we love to go to, so that makes it easy,” Brown said.
Brown has been racing professionally for six years, the past four with Florida-based Extreme Speed, which competes in the top Prototype class of the newly formed Tudor United SportsCar Championship.
But Brown doesn’t just race professionally. He is also CEO and president of Patron Spirits International, which he said “presents a different stress to me.”
But, he said: “There’s a relaxing part about it to me because when I’m in a race car people can’t text me or call me or email me or anything like that, so it’s my break away from everything.”
With two races remaining this season, Brown and co-driver Johannes van Overbeek sit in sixth place in the Tudor championship standings, helped in part by a win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May.
Brown will return to Austin next month for Lone Star Le Mans weekend, two days of sports car racing from the North American-based Tudor series racing and the global FIA World Endurance Championship.
The event is set for Sept. 19 and 20 at Circuit of The Americas. Both series will host separate races on Sept. 20: the Tudor series in the morning and the WEC in the afternoon, finishing well after dark.
Brown will be one of just a few drivers who will race in both series that weekend. Extreme Speed will enter their No. 2 car in the 2-hour, 45-minute Tudor race and will field its No. 1 entry in the WEC’s LMP2 category of the six-hour WEC race.
Brown will drive with van Overbeek in the Tudor race and then join teammates Scott Sharp and Ryan Dalziel in the afternoon.
Circuit of The Americas caught up with Brown this week to talk about racing in both series.
Tickets for the Lone Star Le Mans weekend start at $79, click here to purchase.
What was behind the decision to race in the both the Tudor and WEC races in Austin?
“Well, you know, we love to race. But Austin is the only race that Tudor races with the WEC. There’s really good P2 cars in the WEC and we felt like, ‘What a great place to be able to do it and test ourselves against some of these teams in the WEC and see what the series is all about.’ So it just opened the door for us to do it. We didn’t have any other travel expenses or anything because we were going to take two cars to Austin regardless.”
How much will your workload increase over that weekend?
“The crews for the two cars won’t have any extra work because the crew for the 2 car will just do the Tudor series, and they’ll pitch in and maybe help a little bit for the WEC race, which will help the crew on the 1 car. But it’ll just give me, you know, double the practice sessions, two qualifying sessions and two races. My minimal drive times for the WEC race is, like, an hour, 45 minutes. I think the Tudor race is 20 minutes, plus two sets of driver meetings and so on. So for me it’ll just be double. It’ll be a long weekend for me. I’ll be tired when I leave there. (laughs)”
What will be the biggest difference between the two cars?
“The biggest will be the tires. The tire for the WEC is just a different tire. It has a whole different grip level. Because of that the tire will have way different capabilities for the car, so I’m probably going to limit my practice time in the Tudor car – I’ll get my mandatory time for practice in the Tudor car – and focus more on what I have to do in the car for the WEC.”
You’ll certainly have a busy race weekend in Austin, how are you preparing for that now?
“Just physically trying to stay in condition. We’re getting toward the end of the season, so you get tired and stuff like that, but really trying to be sure I’m physically in shape to be able to do what I have to do that weekend. I’m the only one that’s driving in both races, so one car’s going to be totally different that we drive in the Tudor race, especially from the tire standpoint, and then jumping into the WEC. So I’m really just going to talk to myself before getting into both cars and don’t put myself in a bad position thinking the car will do something that it can’t do. I think it’s going to be more mental preparation for me, just reminding myself what car I’m driving at whatever particular time that is.
What stands out in your mind about driving Circuit of The Americas?
“When you’re a driver, you always want a track that gives you a bunch of different looks and a bunch of different corners and challenges you in different ways, and definitely COTA does that. It’s a fun track to drive. It’s also a track that, as long as you’re smart, you can’t really get yourself in too much trouble. I remember when we were there last year, we were all talking to each other, saying, ‘If you can only straighten your hands out , even if you overran a corner, you can usually gather the car up and not do any serious damage to it.’ So hopefully it’s that way this year.”
Photos: LAT Photo USA for IMSA