8Star's four stars deliver five-star performance in Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona

The Florida-based team sensationally finished second in LMPC and tenth overall.

8Star's four stars deliver five-star performance in Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona

Daytona Beach, Fla. – 8Star Motorsports and its star drivers sensationally finished second in LMPC and tenth overall in the 2014 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona – the opening round of the inaugural IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

The Florida-based team lost almost two laps to the LMPC class-leading CORE Autosports machine as it completed a full rotation of its drivers – Tom Kimber-Smith, Enzo Potolicchio, Mike Marsal and Rob Huff – during the initial hours of daylight on Sunday morning (26 January).

#25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet: Enzo Potolicchio, Tom Kimber-Smith, Michael Marsal
#25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet: Enzo Potolicchio, Tom Kimber-Smith, Michael Marsal

Photo by: Trevor Horn

A trio of full course cautions neutralised the racing as the twice around the clock contest entered its final three hours.

The third caution was thrown when the number seven Starworks Motorsport entry spectacularly burst into flames while haring around Daytona’s high-speed banking.

With the blaze escalating quickly and completely engulfing the rear-end of the car, causing catastrophic and terminal damage, Kyle Marcelli was quick to bring the prototype to a halt on the apron, where marshals were on hand to extinguish the flames and recover the wreckage.

The most minor of mistakes or mechanical maladies would prove particularly costly during the final three-hour sprint to the finish, with little or no opportunity to recover any lost ground.

Huff took to Daytona International Speedway for the penultimate stint of the race and held third position in the LMPC classification while misaligned steering and heavily worn Continental rubber restricted his pace.

The 2012 FIA World Touring Car Champion soldiered on, before handing over to Kimber-Smith for the concluding leg of the 52nd running of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

Dogged drives by both Huff and Kimber-Smith, despite the irksome steering issues, and neatly-timed caution periods brought 8Star back in touch with the LMPC class lead.

Kimber-Smith initially circulated in the 1m43s bracket and within three tenths of Colin Braun in the lead CORE Autosports ORECA.

But while the pair briefly switched positions as they completed their final routine pitstops and a late full course caution – the 16th of the race – bunched up the field, the ailing 8Star Motorsports contender was unable to mount a realistic challenge for the LMPC victory.

Stellar performances from all four of 8Star’s drivers and pristine work by the team’s crew ultimately catapulted it from the very back of the 67-car field to a highly satisfying and well-deserved second place finish in the LMPC class and tenth overall.

Looking upon the battle-scarred number 25 machine, 8Star Motorsports Team Manager, Gary Neal, said: “It has been a really long weekend with all the pre-race dramas, so it’s nice to bring the car home on the podium. The team had a few issues to contend with at the end and nobody was sure the car would make it, as it was getting very hot. But we made it!”

A smiling Enzo Potolicchio expressed delight at finishing second as he took the plaudits from supporters in the presentation area, saying: “It’s not as good as winning. But, hey! Second place is not too bad, given that it’s the first time with the car for the team.”

shares
comments
HPD finishes seventh in Daytona debut

Previous article

HPD finishes seventh in Daytona debut

Next article

Porsche, Audi take GT wins in Rolex 24

Porsche, Audi take GT wins in Rolex 24
Load comments
The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence Prime

The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence

Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the FIA World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy Prime

Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy

Can Mazda win this year’s IMSA Prototype championship? Undoubtedly. But it will be the culmination of an achingly hard struggle, after which the brand has decided to quit. David Malsher-Lopez tells the story of a bizarre blend of heartache and positivity.

IMSA
Apr 6, 2021
The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC Prime

The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s decision to scrap its GT Le Mans class for 2022 raises the question of whether the FIA World Endurance Championship should phase out GTE cars. But it's a much harder decision than it appears on the surface.

WEC
Feb 3, 2021
Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona Prime

Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona

After a 100-minute sprint race to whet the appetite, the 2021 IMSA SportsCar Championship gets underway properly this weekend. With plenty of significant changes during the winter, here are the key points you need to keep an eye on

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars Prime

Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars

Having gone over seven years without a race win through spells with McLaren, Renault and Haas, Kevin Magnussen's departure from Formula 1 for IMSA with big-hitters Chip Ganassi Racing could give him what he craves most - a chance of success

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights Prime

Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights

Oliver Gavin has stepped down from the full-time Corvette Racing line-up after a stellar career with the team spanning nearly 20 years. He looks back on a stint that encompassed, among other successes, five Le Mans 24 Hours victories.

Le Mans
Jan 28, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Prime

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it…

Le Mans
Jan 24, 2021
The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked Prime

The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked

The 2020 edition of the Florida sportscar classic is finally taking place this weekend, eight months after its traditional date in March. That meant there was plenty of time for Motorsport.com to pour over its previous 67 races and select the best.

IMSA
Nov 11, 2020