Ryan Briscoe will join team principal Scott Tucker in one of two Level 5 HPD ARX-03b prototypes for the 2-hour street race around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
Baltimore, Md. — After being sidelined with a broken wrist suffered in an IndyCar race last month, Level 5 Motorsports driver Ryan Briscoe returned to American Le Mans Series action in style by claiming the pole position for Saturday’s Grand Prix of Baltimore.
“I love it here!” Briscoe said. “It’s one of the most challenging and one of the more physical tracks we come to. But I am really proud of the guys. It’s great to be back in the series and to start off with a pole today.”
Level 5 continues its quest for a third consecutive ALMS P2 championship this weekend at a circuit where the team has enjoyed a great deal of success. Last year’s Grand Prix of Baltimore saw Level 5 earn its first ever 1-2 overall finish in ALMS competition.
“We had a phenomenal race last year and showed what this organization is capable of,” said Tucker. “So we feel good coming back here and we have worked hard to prepare for another difficult race. We’ve got Ryan back and you can see what that means to our team with his amazing qualifying run.”
Level 5’s Marino Franchitti qualified the team’s second car, the No. 552 HPD ARX-03b, in the fourth position. He will be joined by the newest addition, Guy Cosmo. Cosmo, the 2005 ALMS rookie of the year and former Star Mazda champion, joined the team earlier this week and has adapted quickly to the Level 5 organization and its HPD prototypes.
“I’m very comfortable in the HPD race car,” Cosmo said. “So that transition is no problem at all. And the Level 5 team is so professional and well organized that they have made everything else go as smooth as possible. I feel like this is really an environment I can excel in and I am looking forward to finishing out the season strong.”
At two hours in duration, this year’s race has been shortened by 45 minutes. But the tight and very rough city street circuit still presents a formidable challenge for Team Manager David Stone and the entire Level 5 crew.
“Because this track is comprised of city streets, you have very rough and inconsistent surface conditions to contend with,” Stone said. “It is physically very demanding on the car and the driver. Even shortened to two hours it is still a very difficult race.”
Adding more pressure to the crew is the limited track time available for practice. That leaves little time for adjustments or addressing issues with the car.
“It’s so tough to get laps and work on the cars in such a short schedule,” said Team Strategist Jeff Braun. “So unloading with a good set up is important. The engineers did some good work here as we have made very few changes."
The Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 31 with live coverage on ESPN3. ABC will broadcast the race on Sunday, September 1 at 12 p.m. ET.
Level 5 Motorsports