Florida team primed for the start of the 82nd 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance classic on the Circuit de la Sarthe (13-15 June).
The Pompano Beach, Florida-based outfit has had a rocky road to Le Mans, having had to overcome its fair share of misfortune in the opening two rounds of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps.
Despite showing great pace during the build-up to the season, the 6 Hours of Silverstone curtain-raiser and the following 6 Hours of Spa were mired by a series of unfortunate issues that culminated in the team’s first retirements in nine races.
In 2012, Venezuelan racing driver and businessman Enzo Potolicchio notably finished second in the 24 Hours of Daytona, before achieving historic wins in the 6 Hours of Sao Paolo, 12 Hours of Sebring and the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours en-route to the FIA WEC LMP2 Drivers’ Championship.
Last month, Frankie Motecalvo was announced as Potolicchio’s replacement in 8Star Motorsports’ Le Mans 24 Hours entry.
The 24-year old from New Jersey joins Paolo Ruberti and Gianluca Roda in 8Star’s striking orange-liveried Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 for the 82nd running of the legendary twice-around-the-clock endurance race and the trio are duly hoping to replicate former successes at Circuit de la Sarthe.
Montecalvo said: “I first raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2012 and I love the Circuit de la Sarthe – it’s one of my favourites – and the event itself is fantastic. I’ve been trying to get back there ever since, as it’s one of the best races you can ever hope to compete in. In fact, it’s like the Super Bowl of motor racing! I think the circuit plays to my strengths because, while it has a bit off everything, it has an abundance of long straights and high-speed corners, like the Porsche Curves, that I really enjoy – you have to really trust the downforce and it’s always exciting carrying a tonne of speed through the turns.
“I’m pretty familiar with the Ferrari 458 Italia, having raced it on numerous occasions over the past few seasons. Ferrari has made a couple of changes and improvements to the car since I last drove one, but I settled back into it and shook off the rust during testing and will be well up to speed for qualifying and the race itself, having been competing in the ‘Prototype Challenge’ class of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship most recently. The fact is, this is anything but a sprint race; there won’t be any banging of wheels and it’s all about keeping pace, staying out of trouble and working out how to get the best outcome towards the end. There’s no doubt we’re shooting for the win, with a great team and driver line-up.”