Nissan-powered ESM team looks to repeat at Petit

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Nissan-powered ESM team will seek to repeat its Petit Le Mans win this week in the find round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. 

Last year, the No. 2 regular-season lineup of Ryan Dalziel and Scott Sharp were joined by Brendon Hartley on the top step of the podium at the end of the 10-hour race. 

The No. 22 car of Pipo Derani, Johannes van Overbeek and Bruno Senna finished just off the podium in fourth. 

The team carries momentum into the weekend's event with the No. 22 taking victory at the previous round at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. 

In addition, the No. 22 team, with Petit Le Mans teammate Timo Bernhard, has extra motivation to win, with Johannes van Overbeek announcing he will retire from professional racing at the end of the season. 

"As this is the last race of my professional career, I’m eager to enjoy and take in the entire experience," he said. 

"I can only hope we are as competitive this year as we were last year."

While van Overbeek has long been a part of the American sportscar scene, another driver will make their US debut with the ESM team. Frenchman Norman Nato will join Dalziel and Sharp in the No. 2 at Road Atlanta. 

Nato has raced extensively in Europe and currently sits third in the European Le Mans Series championship. 

"It’s always a nice feeling to be racing in one of the biggest races in the US, but it’s even nicer knowing that you are doing it with a winning team,” Nato said.

"It’s the first time for me racing in the US, but this year has been really successful for me in Europe, and it gives me a lot of confidence to be straight away in the pace of the front-runners.”