Scott Tucker and Level 5 take to racing world's biggest stage

Level 5 Motorsports

Scott Tucker and Level 5 take to racing world's biggest stage

Proving that the best laid plans can sometimes count for little at one of the world’s most challenging endurance races, Scott Tucker’s Level 5 Motorsports team has been tested in its preparations for the start of the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. However, as the team knows well from experience, where you start for a 24-hour race matters less than where you finish.

#33 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX 03b Honda: Scott Tucker, Christophe Bouchut, Luis Diaz
#33 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX 03b Honda: Scott Tucker, Christophe Bouchut, Luis Diaz

Photo by: ACO/Nikon

Despite there being four hours of free practice and six hours of qualifying available to competitors, the No.33 Level 5 HPD ARX03b, which is entered in the extremely competitive LMP2 class, fell prey to a number of technical issues following an off-track excursion which prevented the team from making a proper challenge on class pole. They will start the race on Saturday from 14th place in class, and 27th on the overall starting grid of 56 cars.

Scott Tucker, a five-time national champion driver from Kansas City, was the highest-finishing American in the 2011 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as he and his colleagues Christophe Bouchut and Joao Barbosa claimed a well-deserved third place in class. With Mexican racer Luis Diaz, a regular teammate of both Tucker and Bouchut in the American Le Mans Series joining the team for 2012, confidence was high going into qualifying.

The 8.469 mile long track, which is made up mostly by public roads which are closed for racing, is one of the longest circuits in the world and it is famous for tripping up even the most talented and storied drivers at times. Christophe Bouchut, going into his 19th 24 Hours of Le Mans got caught out in the first qualifying session and damage was sustained to the gearbox and to some aerodynamic parts which are so crucial for stability around this challenging track.

Scott Tucker, the only American to be racing in the Prototype classes, said after qualifying: “We had to spend a bit more time in the garage than we’d planned for due to problems surrounding the accident, so we used the time we did have to make sure we had a good comfortable race car, checked through all our systems and make sure lights were working at the optimum level and so on. Our main objective was to get the car into race trim so we all feel as comfortable as possible with it come race time. It was a pity about not being able to go for a class pole, but it’s not the end of the world for a 24 hour race.”

All three drivers had to complete a mandatory number of night laps in order to qualify for the race and, because Luis Diaz is a rookie at Le Mans, he had to do at least five laps. All three drivers were able to do this without any concerns, and now look forward to tomorrow’s free day in order to rest up and prepare for the big event. The only major commitment they have is a Drivers’ Parade in the centre of Le Mans, in front of crowds of up to 50,000, toward the end of the day. Drivers from every car are taken through a 2 mile route through the town on the back of open-top vintage cars, and are able to meet and connect with fans from almost every continent. The atmosphere for the 24 Hours of Le Mans really starts to build from that moment on, and all thoughts of where Level 5 Motorsports start the race will be forgotten.

The 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will begin on Saturday, June 16 at 3 p.m. local time (CET) on the 8-mile Le Mans street course in France, and end at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

shares
comments
Asian Le Mans Series: Cyndie Allemann impressed by the new Asian series

Previous article

Asian Le Mans Series: Cyndie Allemann impressed by the new Asian series

Next article

Greaves Motorsport prepares for the Le Mans 24 Hours

Greaves Motorsport prepares for the Le Mans 24 Hours
Load comments
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans Prime

The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans

Kevin Magnussen will make his Le Mans 24 Hours debut this weekend alongside father Jan in LMP2. But the Danes won't be the only ex-F1 drivers to appear in the hotly contested category this year.

Le Mans
Aug 20, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload Prime

How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload

The 23-car GTE Am field promises to be one of the most open in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, with the added jeopardy of managing the enthusiasm of amateur drivers to boot, as Absolute Racing Porsche driver Marco Seefried explains

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Prime

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success.

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021