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Level 5 Motorsports Driver Experience Paramount For Immediate Success With New Car

Sports/Touring Car Racing Topics:  Scott Tucker, HPD ARX-01g

Level 5 Motorsports Driver Experience Paramount For Immediate Success With New Car

Brent Arends
Level 5 Motorsports
October 8, 2011

The Level 5 Motorsports team's 2011 season has proven it a versatile, dominant team stocked with talent, skill and determination. Commanding the podium at the majority of the races it entered—including winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and podium at Imola and Sebring, among others—is proof that the Scott Tucker-owned, Microsoft Office-sponsored team has found a winning formula in its schedule, race strategy and drivers, including Tucker, Luis Diaz and Christophe Bouchut. As they began the final quarter of an already unbelievable season with the ModSpace American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patron mid-September, all their ducks seemed to be in a row: their equation had been proven again and again as reliable for an effective winning effort. But this race contained one wild card, or wild car, as the case might be—the team would finally debut the HPD ARX-01g they had announced they were switching to mid-season.

The Level 5 team expected the car to be a positive multiplier for their already winning equation, but as is the case in racing, they also knew always to expect the unexpected. For another team, the possibility and risk of entering a brand new car so close to the season's biggest races could throw off drivers and the team's rhythm, but Level 5 is made up of drivers who have experience not only adapting to car changes but in motorsports itself.

"Experience counts," said Christophe Bouchut before the ModSpace race. "We've worked hard to prepare for this race, but it's still brand new and there are still things to check." The team opened the gearbox for inspection, sitting out of a final practice session to acquaint themselves with the new car as much as possible before its first run. Still, Bouchut was right: A car can be inspected over and over, and the race strategy can be cemented into the drivers' minds, but there comes a point for drivers when lessons from previous race experience takes over with a sort of intuition and sensibility that can't be taught.

Tucker is the least experienced driver on the Level 5 team, but what he lacks in years behind the wheel he makes up for with a brilliant learning curve that barely existed in the first place. A rookie in 2006 at age 44, Tucker displayed natural talent and surprising skill in the Ferrari Challenge Series before he created Level 5 Motorsports and began building a dream team of drivers. As the seasons progressed, Tucker began seeing his first major success. In 2009, he won the Sports Car Club of America National Championship. Later, he was the first American to drive one of Audi's V-12 turbodiesels in a competition, during the 24 Hours of Le Mans. His passion for motorsports coupled with an unrelenting pursuit of excellence—which has caused him to maintain an ultra-disciplined fitness regimen as well as a grueling, three-series race schedule—have catapulted his short career into the territory of his counterparts, whose first races weren't too long after their first birthdays.

Christophe Bouchut, part of the Level 5 dream team, is one of the most successful endurance drivers in the world. His victories have included the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. He has also won three Porsche Carrera Cup France championships, three FIA GT titles and a FFSA GT championship. He is the only triple FIA GT champion in history. Bouchut has been driving with Tucker's Level 5 team since 2008, adding his experience to Tucker's burgeoning motorsports empire and becoming an integral part of the team's success.

Luis Diaz drove in the Toyota Atlantic and Indy Lights Series from 1999 to 2003 before moving to the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car series in 2004 when he co-drove the No. 01 car with former Champ Car competitor Scott Pruett for Chip Ganassi Racing. Three years later, Diaz moved again, this time into the American Le Mans Series, driving an LMP2 Lola B06/43-Acura for Fernandez Racing, and won the class championship in 2009. Diaz was also named Most Popular Driver that season. Diaz's experience with Level 5 Motorsports is limited to only the 2011 season, but his familiarity with the LMP2 cars has undoubtedly been invaluable to the ever-changing team.

Level 5 Motorsports continues to run on a near-perfect combination of talent, passion, skill and experience. The cohesive mix of the drivers' backgrounds has established the team as dominant frontrunners in multiple series and allowed the 2011 momentum to continue with the new HPD ARX-01g car.

Brent Arends has been keeping a close eye on Scott Tucker, owner and driver, of Level 5 Motorsports throughout the past year. To get more information about Tucker, check out http://www.motorsport.com/#/all/search/?q=scott%252520tucker

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