Level 5 Motorsports ended the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrn season on the top step of the podium, as drivers Scott Tucker, Christophe Bouchut and Joao Barbosa scored a dominant victory in the 14th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda.
Driving the team’s Microsoft Office 2010-sponsored HPD ARX-01g, Tucker, Bouchut and Barbosa stuck to their plan of bringing the new LMP2 car home in one piece. It ended with an impressive sixth place finish overall and class victory after a flawless run in the 1,000-mile marathon.
“The competition was real tough today and we knew this was going to be a real big battle for us,” said Tucker. “We still have a lot of work to do on the car but we did a great job with it. Joao and Christophe drove a great race. We didn’t miss a beat. With the car being just three weeks old and having gone through a six-hour race and now a 1,000-mile race as well with no problems, we’re real fortunate with that.”
Having started from third position on the grid, four-time national driving champion Tucker put the No. 33 car in an early lead, battling with the Signatech ORECA Nissan throughout his solid opening double-stint. The two teams, locked in the fight for the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, enjoyed a spirited fight until the Nissan struck mechanical problems in the fifth hour.
With Bouchut and Barbosa putting in consistent stints, most importantly staying out of trouble around the treacherous 2.54-mile Road Atlanta road course, the final four and a half hours proved to be clear sailing for the Level 5 team, which took the class victory by a hefty eight lap margin.
“The cars performed well and I’m happy for the entire team on this big win,” said team manager David Stone. “It was unfortunate the Signatech Nissan had a problem with their power steering. Everyone would have enjoyed seeing how the fight would have gone until the end. But we all have those issues once in a while. If we didn’t lose a turbo in our No. 055 car, we may have had two cars on the podium tonight.
The next stop on Level 5 Motorsports’ world tour is the Six Hours of Zhuhai, the seventh and final round of the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup season. The endurance race in the Guangdong province of China that will close out the exciting sportscar championship is scheduled for November 11-13, with radiolemans.com providing live audio commentary over the weekend.
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