After a successful first season in the IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, Extreme Speed Motorsports will return to the series with three full season entries and one partial season entry for 2016. Kicking off the season next month at Sebring International Raceway in support of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, drivers James Dayson, Max Hanratty, Naj Husain and Andrew Hobbs will each also return to pilot their four identical Elan DP02 race cars, powered by a 230hp Mazda MZR engine.
The 2016 race calendar will take the team to six different venues across North America, each event offering two 45-minute races in which drivers and teams can earn championship points.
This year will mark James Dayson’s first full season racing prototypes, after racing for several years in the Mazda Road to Indy’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship. The Canadian made his IMSA Lites debut last year at the Road Atlanta season finale, where he impressively earned a 9th finish after starting at the rear of the pack, in wet conditions. This year, Dayson will pilot the No. 16 ESM Elan DOP02.
Hardland, Wisconsin native Max Hanratty also comes to the team from an open wheel racing background, starting at the legendary Skip Barber Racing School. From there, he competed in the F1600 Championship before moving up to USF2000 in 2015 to become teammates with James Dayson. Hanratty first joined ESM mid-season in 2015, proving he could run at the top, and ultimately earning a 5th place finish. He returned to the series to compete in the season finale, earning a 6th place finish in the first race of the doubleheader event. He will race the No. 30 ESM Elan DOP02 for the 2016 season.
Technology entrepreneur and investor Naj Husain joined ESM for his first full season in 2015 after building a career in Radical Sportscar competition on club and national levels with the SportsCar Club of America (SCCA). Husain competed in the majority of the 2015 season, earning a top-10 finish at VIRginia International Raceway. He finished off the season with a 9th place finish within the Master Class. Husain will return to compete in the No. 3 Elan DP02.
Although commonly associated with former race car drivers Greg Hobbs, and David Hobbs, young Andrew Hobbs has worked diligently to honor the legacy of his father and grandfather as he continues to build his own motorsports career. After a successful career in karting, Hobbs also graduated from Skip Barber Racing School before competing in USF2000 and F1600 Formula F series. In 2015 Hobbs joined ESM for the Mazda Lites season finale, also his series debut, impressively earning 7th and 5th place finishes. Hobbs is currently only slated to run the No. 31 Elan DP02 for the season opener at Sebring International raceway, with the rest of the season to be determined.
“I’m really excited for the team we have assembled for the Lites Championship in 2016,” said ESM Team Owner Scott Sharp. “We have a great group of drivers who all have tremendous potential, and I fully expect each will have the best season of their careers. Furthermore, they are all great personalities who will provide strong chemistry for the team, and that is hugely important! We have worked tirelessly for the last 3 months to tear each car to the bare tub and build back perfectly. I expect great performance from our cars!”
The season opening event at Sebring International Raceway takes place March 16-18, hosting two rounds on the 3.74 mile, 17 turn circuit.
I couldn’t be happier to be signing with ESM for the 2016 Mazda IMSA Lites Championship. I did one weekend at Road Atlanta with the team and was very impressed. It was such a natural fit for me coming in. They run a very professional outfit and everything just seemed to click with me and the team. It also really helped that I had the best race in my career going from the back of the field up to a top ten in the rain.
There is a great group of guys at ESM and I feel we can make some great strides in the contending for the championship and wins this season. It’s going be fun to grow together and see what we can accomplish. We’ve done a lot of work to get ready for the season and I’ve been training hard. While I haven’t tested as much as I would have liked in the IMSA Lites I’ve been staying fresh by running a bunch of Pro Mazda tests the last few months.
I’m excited for the season to begin. I’m coming in with some big goals and to fight for top 5’s and the podium each and every race. My driving has come a long way and last year was a big step forward for me. I’m looking forward to continuing that momentum to get some continued success with ESM.