Petit Le Mans Testing Days A Good Sign For Tucker And His Level 5 Team
Topics: Scott Tucker, Petit Le Mans
Scott Tucker and his Level 5 Motorsports team have been taking full advantage of testing days for this weekend's Petit Le Mans. Racking up the odometers on the team's brand new Honda prototypes is paramount for the race at Road Atlanta, effectively the championship of the American Le Mans Series, which has been on Tucker's to-do list all year. The new cars, two Honda Performance Development/Wirth Research-made Le Mans Prototype 2 models, were a long-awaited addition to the team that involved some risk, but one that has proven worthwhile since the cars were rolled out of the box a week ago.
Tucker and teammates took the first-place podium spot at last weekend's Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Championship Runoffs at Road America, an historical win for Tucker, who has now won three consecutive Runoffs championships. The race was the HPD ARX-01g's debut run, but you wouldn't have known it if the prototype hadn't been eagerly anticipated in media coverage. The car's performance was flawless, and so far, at testing for Petit Le Mans, its performance is also consistent.
The team, which includes drivers Tucker, Luis Diaz, Christophe Bouchut, Joao Barbosa and Marino Franchitti, posted the fastest lap times in the first pair of testing days at Road Atlanta. Tucker, Barbosa and Bouchut tackled the first session Sunday in the team's Microsoft Office-sponsored No. 33 HPD ARX-01g, recording 99 laps, one of which was a class leader at 1:17.799. The same trio posted a solid 1:13.729 during the last session on Monday.
The team's other entry, the No. 055 HPD ARX-01g, also driven by Tucker along with Franchitti and Diaz, only made an appearance Monday, but what an appearance it was: The drivers again topped the LMP2 class with a 1:13.291. Because only the No. 33 car had been raced before, the practice time was especially important for the No. 55 entry. But its wheel couldn't have been put in more able hands: Franchitti has extensive experience not only in the LMP2 class but in nearly every iteration of the HPD ARX prototypes, starting with the ARX-01a. Diaz also has a background in the LMP2 class, winning the class championship in 2009 with another team before joining Level 5 in 2011.
The Level 5 Motorsports team has already clinched the LMP2 class championship with the most points scored in the season, so they now look for a podium finish in their LMP2 debut at the 14th annual Petit Le Mans and a powerful delivery from their new prototypes.
"We're all very happy with how testing has gone," Tucker said. "Especially since the No. 055 hasn't seen any track time, we're extremely pleased with its performance. We have a long week and a long race ahead of us, but I don't think we could have a better starting position at this point."
The 10 hours or 1,000 miles of Petit Le Mans will begin Saturday. The Level 5 Motorsports team is well stocked for a sizzling LMP2 debut, having acquired the new prototypes and Franchitti just in time for the competition. Last year at Petit Le Mans, the Level 5 team won the LMP class championship, which bumped them to the LMP2 division. With all the work that's gone into preparing for Petit Le Mans this season, it's clear that Tucker and Level 5 are aiming to move up the ranks again and truly compete on the next level of racing.
Want to learn more about Level 5 Motorsports driver Scott Tucker? Check out http://www.planetlemans.com/?s=scott+tucker
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