Braselton, Ga. – With a new driver pairing and encouraging progress made throughout the weekend, 8Star Motorsports headed into Saturday’s Visual Studio Ultimate Grand Prix of Atlanta with high expectations that were unfortunately not fully realized.
GRAND-AM’s first trip to the world-class Road Atlanta circuit saw 8Star debut its revised lineup of Stephane Sarrazin and Pedro Lamy for the No. 3 Corvette DP, in a bid for victory in the fourth round of the season. The longtime co-drivers, who had won the Petit Le Mans overall in 2010, were quickly up to speed around the 2.54-mile, 12-turn circuit and posted the fourth quickest time in final practice.
With qualifying rained out, Lamy rolled off from sixth on the grid and remained inside the top-eight through his double stint. What was planned to be a routine pit stop and driver change on Lap 69 turned into a significant setback, as Lamy was hit by the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette while entering his pit box.
While the other driver was later given a penalty for avoidable contact, the incident resulted in valuable time lost on pit road for the 8Star car.
Rejoining on the tail end of the lead lap, Sarrazin did his best to improve his position, but an ill-handling car, likely caused by damage from the contact in pit lane, resulted in a challenging final half of the race for the three-time Petit Le Mans winner.
Sarrazin managed to bring the orange-colored Corvette DP across the line in 9th overall, a result neither drivers nor the team had envisioned prior to the start of the weekend.
“We expected a better race here,” Sarrazin said. “The car was very good in testing and practice but the accident on pit lane damaged the right-front. We lost a bit of time and speed as we had some sort of issue after that.
We know we have to improve but we now have one month before the next race at Detroit, to think about improvements in the setup. The team is still new, so it’s tough for everybody, but we’ll keep pushing.”
For Enzo Potolicchio, who stepped out of the drivers’ seat for this weekend, the 8Star team principal is determined to continue making gains before the next Rolex Series race on the streets of Belle Isle in Detroit in June, which comes as the home race for partner Chevrolet.
"It was a hard race," Potolicchio said. "We were a little bit off the pace. The incident in the pits was unfortunate for both of us. They let the No. 5 car go without seeing our car coming in.
Even though it wasn't our fault, I'm sad for them because they had a good race going as well. But for us, we just have to continue working.
We're a new team and knew there would be some early challenges. We just have to work harder to improve all areas of the car and keep on going."