The Florida-based organization gears up for the sixth round of the WEC in Japan, while also competing in the ALMS season finale at Road Atlanta.
Pompano Beach, Fla. – With four races in three series stretched across two different continents, 8Star Motorsports is set for its biggest weekend yet. The Florida-based organization gears up for the sixth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Japan, while also competing in the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda season finale at Road Atlanta and making its highly anticipated Prototype Challenge debut in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón series-ending Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda.
The team, which fielded two Corvette DPs in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series this season, made the investment in PC machinery earlier this year, with the goal of entering at least one race this season in preparation for 2014. Team principal Enzo Potolicchio has entrusted veteran Ozz Negri and rising sportscar star Sean Rayhall as drivers for 8Star’s ORECA FLM09 this weekend.
Negri, a native of Brazil, has more than a decade’s worth of prototype experience, including winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2012. He will lend his expertise to 18-year-old Rayhall, the current Prototype Lites championship leader, who makes his ALMS debut.
“We’re excited to have Ozz on board with 8Star and also to be giving Sean a chance in our first PC race,” Potolicchio said. “We want to showcase our ladder system within IMSA and that aspiring drivers from Prototype Lites can move up to PC and then hopefully into the Prototype class. With all of the experience that Ozz has, he will be a really good teammate for Sean.
“It’s unbelievable how quickly our team has grown in its first year,” Potolicchio continued. “In addition to our podiums in DP this year, we felt it was important to showcase that we are a capable Prototype Challenge team as well and that we’re an option for customers wanting to race in the TUDOR Championship next year. We still think PC is the best place for Pro-Am driver lineups.”
Potolicchio will be following his PC team’s progress from afar, as the accomplished Venezuelan owner/driver will be leading 8Star’s efforts in Sunday’s FIA WEC 6 Hours of Fuji. A recent rules change requiring three-driver lineups in the LM GTE-AM class has seen Potolicchio reconfirm the team’s program. Ferrari Formula 1 test driver Davide Rigon rejoins Potolicchio and Rui Aguas in the No. 81 Ferrari 458 Italia GT for the Japanese round. The team currently sits third in the points standings, looking to make up ground in the title chase.
8Star will also be in action in the pair of season-ending Prototype Lites races at Road Atlanta, with drivers Christian Potolicchio and Franco De Leonardis, who both visited the podium in the last round at the Circuit of The Americas. De Leonardis, in fact, scored the team’s first Prototype Lites Master Class victory and third place overall finish in Race 1, while 18-year-old Potolicchio took his No. 2 Elan DP02 to a podium in Race 2. Both will be looking to repeat.
With nearly 20 hours of racing time between the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans, 6-hour FIA WEC race and pair of 30 and 45-minute Prototype Lites sprint races, fans around the world will be seeing plenty of 8Star’s signature orange-colored cars on track this weekend.
“It’s a big showing for us,” said 8Star Motorsports Director of Operations, Brian Colangelo. “We have two Prototype Lites cars as well as well as the new PC car for Ozz and Sean, plus the WEC program in Japan. While it’s our first Petit Le Mans as a team, many of our crew have previous experience of this race so we’re quite confident. We’re hoping to end the Prototype Lites season on a high note, too. If everything goes well, we’ll have good results all around.”