Daytona Beach – Showing the pace and potential for a podium finish, 8Star Motorsports bounced back from adversity to score a hard-earned top 10 result in the 51st Rolex 24 at Daytona, the opening round of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season.
What promised to be a competitive first outing for Potolicchio and co-drivers Stephane Sarrazin, Nicolas Minassian, Anthony Davidson and Pedro Lamy turned into heartbreak just 18 minutes into the 24-hour endurance classic when the Corvette DP suffered differential failure. Down but not out, the Gary Neal-led crew had the car back on track just over 90 minutes later following an entire rear-end change.
Despite being more than 40 laps behind, the 8Star team did not lose hope, with all five drivers turning impressive lap times and keeping their focus under challenging conditions. The No. 3 Corvette DP ran like clockwork through the nighttime and early morning hours, only to make a quick trip to the garage in the 20th hour to clean out the radiator and cooling systems.
With no further ground to be made up, or any other competitor within reach, the team made the decision to park the car in the final hour when it developed gearbox problems. It resulted in a 34th place result overall for Potolicchio and the former Peugeot factory drivers, but more importantly a solid start to the team’s championship bid with 10th place points in the Daytona Prototype class.
“We started the race with the hopes of winning it or being in the top-five,” Potolicchio said. “Eighteen minutes into the race we had a mechanical failure and that forced us to sit down, reorganize and think about the bigger picture, which is the championship. We had to get out there to collect points and we did just that.
“I’m proud of all the guys. We only had ten weeks to get here and we proved to have a competitive car with co-drivers that couldn’t get any better. Steph, Pedro, Anthony and Nico all did an incredible job and the team never stopped working. I think we all showed the potential for the season and we just now have to go back to the shop and keep working hard.”