by Sheryl Kuhn
Scott Tucker-owned Level 5 Motorsports will be the very first American Le Mans Prototype (LMP) access within the Le Mans circuit in Twenty five years, and understanding he's somewhat of a pioneer, Tucker makes certain the team's-and the country's-debut within the series is established for achievement.
When Tucker and mentor/co-driver Christophe Bouchut took the opportunity to compete in the LMP class of American Le Mans and Intercontinental Le Mans Cup in 2010, they finished the season with a class championship win, which bumped them to the LMP2 class for the current year. To start off the season strong, Tucker added LMP2 veteran Luis Diaz to the mix. Diax, of Mexico, had been racing LMP2s since 2007, when he raced a Lola B06/43-Acura for Fernandez Racing and won the class championship in 2009.
With this, Level 5 Motorsports ripped in the ALMS schedule, putting up wins on the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Long Beach Circuit and Twenty four hours of Le Mans, together with remarkable performances at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Infineon and Imola in Italy. Solely enhancing from that point, Tucker along with the Level 5 team obtained a whole new Honda chassis prototype-the HPD ARX-01g-just soon enough for the American Le Mans Series Monterey at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. They made a podium end using the brand-new prototype, and it was technically set up as an LMP2 powerhouse.
Right now, Tucker once more piles his deck for LMP2 rivalry by having Marino Franchitti, being the 5th and ultimate driver for the two-car entry in the 14th annual Petit Le Mans operated by Mazda. Franchitti will certainly join Tucker, Diaz and Bouchut in the team's No. 055 Microsoft Office-sponsored HPD ARX-01g during the 1,000-mile, 10-hour showdown at Road Atlanta, which is the best of the ALMS provided by Tequila Patron.
"I'm very excited to be joining Level 5 Motorsports for Petit Le Mans," Franchitti stated. "Having driven every iteration of the HPD up until this new model, I can't wait to get in the new car. Level 5 is no doubt a top team that's putting all of the resources they need behind this program."
And Tucker continues to impress with how far his resources can go. Franchitti is a significant addition to the already stocked team-as part of the development phases of the ARX-01a, he was one of the first drivers behind the HPD family's wheels. He then spent two years racing LMP2s with Dyson Racing before rejoining HPD models with Highcroft Racing as the third driver for its ALMS journey. He earned the overall pole position at the 12 Hours of Sebring and won at Laguna Seca and Petit Le Mans, in addition to driver and team championship for Highcroft. In this year's 12 Hours of Sebring, Franchitti was runner-up with Highcroft's LMP1 car, the highest prototype class.
Franchitti isn't new to Level 5, either; he has worked along with engineers Rick Mayer and Jeff Braun. "A car is a car, and guys like Scott, Christophe and Joao [Barbosa] are good to drive it to the maximum that it's capable of," Franchitti mentioned. With Level 5 Motorsports, an opportunity is good for Franchitti making a hat trick of LMP2 victories in Petit Le Mans.
"We're ecstatic to have Marino on board," Tucker stated. "With the momentum we've built up to this point in the season, with the boost of our new prototype, we're optimistic for a strong performance at Petit Le Mans. Marino is an obvious choice for this team, and we're glad to have him."
In the future, Franchitti will officially grab the wheel as being a Level 5 driver during the two-day test out at Road Atlanta. They also is expecting to have its 2nd vehicle around the track, an ILMC-designated No. 33 HPD. The Petit Le Mans revs up on Oct. 1.
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