Tucker Cleared to Travel and Race After High Impact Crash at Toronto
Fresh from a podium finish at the Six Hours of Imola, three-time national driving champion Scott Tucker and the Level 5 Motorsports team took on a tough road course in Ferrari Challenge competition this weekend on the streets of Toronto. Although the team faced challenges throughout the weekend, Tucker and crew emerged still more determined to continue their daunting international, multi-series race schedule.
For the first time in its history, the Ferrari Challenge was contested as a street race, part of the Honda Indy Toronto IZOD IndyCar weekend. The Ferrari F430 and 458 Challenge race cars took part in the history-making event celebrating 25 years of racing on the streets surrounding Exhibition Place near Lake Ontario. The narrow, 1.755-mile, 11-turn course has a reputation as a tough track that brings out the most in competitors.
“The team really performed this weekend and provided a top-notch car for me to drive,” said Tucker, who finished fourth in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli race at Le Mans. “It’s great to get the Boardwalk Ferrari 458 Challenge car out on the track. It has been competitive all weekend.”
Qualifying for Race 1 began Saturday morning and Tucker ran competitive laps. The Boardwalk Ferrari 458 Challenge car improved with each lap, running a fastest time of 1:14.303 on lap 15. However, the narrow course made passing difficult, forcing Tucker to settle for a fifth-place starting position.
“That was not the qualifying results we wanted,” Tucker said. “But, that’s just racing. We will have to make the most of our opportunities and get a good finish so we can start higher in Sunday’s race. The most important lap is the last one, after all.”
Once racing got underway Saturday afternoon, Tucker quickly joined the leaders. Again, the car improved as the race went on. Tucker worked traffic well and was able to get around slower cars, minimizing lost time. Once in the clear, he posted the second-fastest lap of the race at 1:14.417 on lap 17.
... racing at 155 mph when things go wrong, they go wrong very fast.
Shortly after that, however, an incident earlier in the race of which the Level 5 team was unaware, took its toll on Tucker and the Boardwalk Ferrari 458 Challenge machine. On lap 2, another competitor experienced difficulties on the track, leaving fluid just outside the racing line. Luckily, competitors were able to keep away from the area for most of the race. But, Tucker veered into the fluid at turn 3, a 155 mph braking zone, on lap 19. Loss of traction and hampered braking performance forced him into the tire wall, along with fellow competitor Enzo Potolicchio. Both cars sustained hard hits into the wall, Enzo Potolicchio was able to drive his car back to the pits, while Tucker remained in his car until medical and emergency services came to get him out.
“I feel just terrible for the team, and Enzo,” Tucker said after the race. “You never want that to happen in a race. I did everything possible to try to avoid hitting Enzo, but in racing at 155 mph when things go wrong, they go wrong very fast. I am just glad to know that Enzo was not hurt. At first, we thought we had an ABS problem. Now, we know that there was fluid on the track in that area. It is a shame for both teams. And, we had a great car, too.”
The team took the car apart and did a full assessment of the damage, but decided it was not possible to bring it up to the quality demanded by the team in time for Sunday’s race. Racing for the Level 5 team ended for the weekend.
“We decided it was just smarter to put the car away and send it off to a proper repair facility,” said Ed Zabinski, Ferrari program manager. “We have limited resources at the track and Scott sustained a very hard hit. The data showed Scott’s impact was more than 10 Gs at the wall.”
By: level 5 motorsports