8Star Motorsports struggled with low downforce, multiple spins and a penalty during the Brickyard Grand Prix but the No. 3 Corvette DP was able to finish eighth and the No. 4 Corvette finished 11th in the second Rolex GRAND-AM Series Daytona Prototype race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Team owner Enzo Potolicchio started the race in the No. 3 with Emilio DiGuida in the No. 4 for the three-hour race at The World Center of Racing. Enzo spun in turn 1 on lap 3 but didn’t damage the car and continued on. The first of the day’s four caution periods began on lap 13, allowing driver changes in both cars, with Stephane Sarrazin sliding into the No. 3 and Sebastien Bourdais into the No. 4.
Green-flag racing resumed on lap 17 but Sarrazin spun that lap after being hit from behind. The second caution came just 11 laps later and the teams pitted again on lap 31. Racing resumed but Sarrazin spun again on lap 36. Bourdais was making his move toward the front, moving into third on lap 47 and in that position when the third caution waved on lap 55. Both cars pitted and Michael Valiante took over for Sarrazin. Shortly after the restart on lap 62, Valiante was caught up in the contact of two other cars which resulted in damage to the nose of the No. 3.
Valiante, in the meantime, was doing all he could to make up all the ground he could. Despite being a lap down, he continued to push hard to get the best finish possible. He was 10th with 20 minutes remaining and moved into eighth with less than 10 minutes remaining.
When the checkered flag waved, Valiante and the No. 3 team finished eighth while Bourdais and the No. 4 team finished 11th.
The No. 3 8Star Corvette DP is sixth in the DP team point standings with 200 points. It’s just seven points out of fifth place and 29 behind the point-leading team.
Stephane Sarrazin (No. 3 Corvette DP):
“At the beginning of the race, I took a good restart but got a push and spun and got a puncture. It was a difficult day for the 8Star team. The last race, at Watkins Glen, we were the best but today we struggled with the low downforce. We had no experience coming to Indy but we tried many things but we learned some things that will help us at other low downforce tracks. I’m sure we’ll be better the next time.”
Michael Valiante (No. 3 Corvette DP):
“We knew low downforce would be difficult because that’s where the car has been weakest from the start of the year. It’s one of those things that we’re pushing so hard and trying so many things that we’re going to get it right some times and wrong other times. The 8Star team did a great job. We just didn’t have the best car. We had to make an engine change yesterday. It wasn’t a perfect race but we finished in the top 10 so we just have to move on for the next race.”
Enzo Potolicchio (team owner, No. 3 and No. 4 Corvette DPs):
“We have a good car with the high downforce setups but we struggled with the low downforce setups. We didn’t have any mechanical grip so we need to further develop that part of the program. We tried different things with the two cars and I think Yves (Touron, race engineer) learned a lot here at Indy. The No. 4 Corvette DP was about a second quicker than the No. 3 car so we’ll work in that direction moving forward. We are a new team. We need to continue to grow and learn. The season is not over.
Sebastien Bourdais (No. 4 Corvette DP):
“I’m very disappointed for the team because clearly we didn’t have the fast car but I thought we did a pretty good job. I made a mistake trying to go around the outside and ended up in the grass. That actually was going to make us finish on the podium which I was happy with. We got back in sequence and made another mistake and went in the grass again when I tried to hard to make a pass. There was some grass in one side of the brake cooling ducts and I started to lock up one wheel and not the other. It was a bit tricky. The 90 and 60 were struggling a little bit more than us. I got by the 90 and then got blocked by the 60 but he kept blocking. So I just went for it on the back straight and put half a car alongside him but he kept squeezing. When I saw the grass coming, I said ‘Dude, that’s it. I’m not moving anymore’. He kept making contact and then turned for the apex but I had half a car on him. I thought ‘Sorry but I can’t get out of it anymore.’ So we went on and 10 minutes later we got a penalty for it. It’s really a shame because I feel that we didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just a give and take. I guess race control saw it differently. It’s a shame because we had a sure top 5 at that stage in the race and were good on fuel. It would have been good for everybody but that’s the nature of the beast. But we’ll keep working to make the car better on low downforce and see where we end up.”
Emilio DiGuida (No. 4 Corvette DP):
“It was a bad luck day for the No. 4 team. I think we have a car that can get podium finishes but there’s still work to do to make some consistency. I’m looking forward to getting back in the car at Road America.”
Gary Neal (DP team manager):
“It was a very difficult race for us. There was a lot of contact. We suffered quite a lot of it. We got a flat right-front tire on the 3 car that put is a long way behind. We tried an alternate strategy but it still didn’t really pan out in the end so we’ve got a lot of work to do before Road America.”
Brian Colangelo (8Star Director of Operations):
“I think we had a pretty good car actually. To finish where we could have was pretty good. I don’t think we could have asked for more than third. I didn’t really agree with the call on Sebastien. We’re were getting blocked for three or four laps and my opinion is he stuck his nose in there and the other guy just turned in on him. We argued it and it didn’t work out in our favor but we’ll go to a track where it suits the Corvette a little better and we’ll be right there.”
Yves Touron (No. 3 team race engineer):
“It was a challenging race for the 8Star team. We were trying different things because we are still learning the car. Obviously we made some wrong changes with Car 3 … Car 4 was a little more competitive so we have a good baseline to work with for both of them. We didn’t get the finishes we wanted but we scored points and we’ll continue to get better. We’re still learning.”