8Star back in contention as horrific crash halts 24 Hours of Daytona

8Star ORECA FLM09 move up to fourth on the LMPC leaderboard, just before the first driver change on lap 53.

8Star Motorsports is running in a solid fourth place in the LMPC class and 25th overall at the end of the fourth hour of the 2014 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, following a sensational charge from the green flag by Tom Kimber-Smith.

An amazing opening couple of laps by the Englishman saw the number 25 ORECA-Chevrolet LMPC move up 23 positions from the back of the field to 28th in the overall classification.

The first full course caution on lap six bunched up the field and brought the ambitious 8Star outfit within reach of the main PC class battle, negating the losses it incurred due to missing qualifying with gearbox troubles.

#25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet: Enzo Potolicchio, Tom Kimber-Smith, Michael Marsal
#25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet: Enzo Potolicchio, Tom Kimber-Smith, Michael Marsal

Photo by: Trevor Horn

At the restart, Kimber-Smith continued pushing to take fifth in class before pitting for the first time.

A delay in restarting the car cost the team 45 seconds and hampered progress. However consistent lappery saw the 8Star ORECA FLM09 move up to fourth on the LMPC leaderboard, just before the first driver change on lap 53.

Following a swift and faultless pitstop by the Florida-based outfit, American Gentleman driver Mike Marsal took the reins and quickly settled into a rhythm.

With 93 laps and three hours completed, the 24-hour enduro was temporarily halted following a horrific and fiery crash involving the pole-sitting Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP prototype driven by Memo Gidley and the Risi Competizione-entered Ferrari 458 Italia GTD in the hands of Matteo Malucelli.

The DP prototype ran into the back of the ailing Risi Ferrari as it limped back to the pits at low speed.

Both drivers were trapped in their respective cars as the hardworking Daytona marshals quickly extinguished the flames that engulfed the Gainsco prototype, but the severe nature of the incident necessitated the first red-flag stoppage in the Daytona 24 Hours for ten years.

The race was neutralised for an hour while Gidley and Malucelli were carefully extracted from the wreckages, before being taken directly to the nearby Halifax Hospital.

As night fell 4h25m into the race the field took the restart, with 8star’s LMPC prototype still piloted by Marsal who had the task of consolidating for the remainder of his stint.

8Star Motorsports

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About this article
Series TUSC
Article type Race reports
Tags daytona, marsal, malucelli, gidley, 8star motorsports, tom kimber-smith

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