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Tucker's New Honda Isn't The First Cutting-Edge Set Of Wheels He's Had

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Sports/Touring Car Racing Topics:  Scott Tucker

Tucker's New Honda Isn't The First Cutting-Edge Set Of Wheels He's Had

Shelley Baughman
Level 5 Motorsports
September 27, 2011

Level 5 Motorsports owner Scott Tucker isn't just a professional sports car driver; he's a sports car man, by nature drawn to the powerful engines and maneuverability of the fastest cars on the planet. In fact, before he raced professionally, Tucker built a veritable sports car museum in his Leawood, Kansas home.

Now that he is on the circuit, Tucker's passion for racecars is less so diminished than it is amplified. Tucker has quickly accepted every opportunity to get behind the wheel of the latest and greatest productions from some of the highest regarded manufacturers in the industry. Tucker's latest acquisition, a cost-capped chassis by Honda Performance Development and Wirth Research, made an exciting debut last weekend at the American Le Mans Series Monterey at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif. The car, which sports modifications allowing for greater increases in speed than its older LMP2 counterparts, ran like a charm and delivered on its promises with the talented Level 5 drivers behind the wheel. The HPD ARX-01g was fresh out of the box for its motorsports debut because Tucker had reserved the first two models out of production for his team, which also comprises Luis Diaz and Christophe Bouchut.

Ever the proactive team owner, Tucker keeps his finger on the pulse of motorsports innovation, development and production. He had been following the Honda prototype's testing and specifications closely before he decided it would be worth switching to the new model in the middle of the current season. But the HPD ARX-01g is hardly the first time Tucker's driven on the cutting edge of racing vehicles. His lifelong interest in the cars has translated into a unique facet to his professional racing career as owner and driver for his Madison, Wisc.-based team: As much as he's driving the cars, he's scouting them, too.

Tucker began his sports car racing career with Ferrari in 2006 at the age of 44. As he got a feel for the track, he began making podium appearances, finishing first at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., by the 2007 season, his second full season. Even as he created Level 5 Motorsports in 2008 and began building a superteam of elite drivers with a heavier focus on ALMS, ILMC and Grand-Am competition, Tucker was committed to the Ferrari Challenge series. Since last year, he has contributed to Ferrari North America in testing and developing the Ferrari 599XX for the 2011 season. With a focus on technology, mechanical and technical features and clever design applied in a modern way, Tucker and the Ferarri team developed a car Tucker himself was excited to drive. "The gas pedal is real sensitive on that thing," Tucker said. "There's just so much power, you have to be gentle. It's almost a 50/50 equal balance, and the way they've done it, it's just a whole new generation of GT cars."

Perhaps one of Tucker's most envy-evoking moves, though, was to be the first American allowed behind the wheel of one of Audi's multimillion-dollar, 200-mph diesel prototypes on a race track. Thanks in part to his connection with series veteran Bouchut, Tucker scored the driver's seat in one of Audi's R10 diesel prototypes in the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans. And it wasn't an easy task; in order to even qualify for the race, Tucker had to complete a minimum of 10 laps—the same amount as a driver's stint in the actual race—and maintain speed at a certain percentage of the class's fast time. Tucker took advantage of his historic opportunity and delivered a performance that got the world of motorsports talking about the middle-aged rookie from Leawood, Kansas that could drive with the best of them.

Tucker's reputation for getting his hands on the wheels of some of the most impressive car in the industry is directly related to his unrelenting pursuit of victory—in his driver roster, vehicle quality and also his own development as a motorsports star. Still, at 48, Tucker reveals a sense of the man he was before he made his mark in sports racing. Although its performance is important to podium finishes and the Level 5 Motorsports LMP2 reputation, to Tucker, the HPD ARX-01g is ultimately one thing: another really cool car.

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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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