Scott Tucker, A Year In Review: 24 Hours Of Le Mans
Topics: Scott Tucker, 24 Hours of Le Mans
September 25, 2011
Scott Tucker and his Level 5 Motorsports teammates recently began the final quarter of a racing year that has included numerous podium appearances, multiple car changes, incredible accomplishments and yet still room for improvement. Tucker, owner and driver for Level 5, has been a leader for the team despite the rookie status he maintained merely months ago. His tight, balanced driving has earned him top honors in the American Le Mans Series as Rookie of the Year and Champion Driver in 2010. His races often end with stints on the podium, and his career has only just begun.
As Tucker, his co-drivers Christophe Bouchut and Luis Diaz and team manager David Stone prepare to close the calendar year with the all-important Petit Le Mans and the Ferrari International Finals, the stakes are high—the team has woven itself a reputation of excellence that is best understood by looking back at what has made 2011 a stunning year for Level 5 Motorsports.
The Scott Tucker-owned Level 5 Motorsports team had undergone 24-hour races before, but the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup 24 Hours of Le Mans race brought the stiffest competition from around the world, completely changing the face of endurance competitions compared to what Level 5 was used to in the American Le Mans Series.
Level 5 made its 24 Hours of Le Mans debut much like it had appeared up to that point in the season: remarkably well. Even with the challenge of new cars or races they've never before encountered, the Level 5 team has made podium race after race in seemingly easy fashion.
Tucker, Christophe Bouchut and Joao Barbosa drove the No. 33 Microsoft-sponsored Lola Honda coupe in their new LMP2 category. A seamless race ended with a third place finish and 10th place overall. How does a relatively new team that has never competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans stay cool in the face of the toughest competition in the world and manage to pull off podium? It's the trademark of Level 5 Motorsports—careful, skillful driving mixed with steely determination and an unrelenting focus on a wining finish.
The team, managed by David Stone, was the only American prototype in the 56-car field. Earlier in the week, the Level 5 team sacrificed track time due to a fuel leak. Despite small gains on the track during qualifying leading up to the race, the team started dead last in the LMP2 lineup. The consistency Level 5 is known for delivering worked to its benefit—after competitors faced trouble, the Lola Honda held strong and was cruising steadily at third place by morning, less than four laps behind the leader.
Not that Level 5 didn't have its own setbacks—but the tight teamwork and the drivers' ability to prevent any problems from disrupting their internal focus made the teams two hiccups seem minor in the grand scheme of things. Barbosa spun into the gravel trap about halfway through the race, and three hours from the finish, the car received a realignment and rear deck change.
A day after its debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Level 5 Motorsports nabbed the checkered flag. The win was monumental for the team and for Tucker—he had now made podium in all four of the major sports car endurance races in the world, and in front of 250,000 spectators to boot.
"Any time additions we face were not the fault of the car or the engine," said Tucker. "This team worked hard, and we accomplished something great today."
Tucker and his Level 5 team hit the road in hopes of continuing their all but total domination of all three of its series. They would next face the Six Hours of Imola in the next round of the ILMC.
Shelley Baughman has been keeping a close eye on Scott Tucker, owner and driver, of Level 5 Motorsports throughout the past year to keep you posted about the success of the dream team. To get more information about Tucker, check out http://www.planetlemans.com/?s=scott+tucker
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