Michael Marsal delivers big performance in Sebring

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Marsal had a traffic jam ahead as he looked to return the car to podium position.

Racing on one of the toughest tracks on the continent, Michael Marsal delivered a huge performance this weekend for 8Star Motorsports.

After opening the season with a run to second place in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January, Marsal once again teamed with the 8Star Motorsports squad as he made his Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring debut in round two of the 2014 IMSA TUDOR SportsCar Championship.

The New York City resident has been training regularly and intensely, and he got two big opportunities to put that training to use this weekend.

After posting a huge four-hour stint behind the wheel on Saturday, Marsal was back at home on Sunday morning to complete his first-ever half-marathon in New York City to round off a very busy weekend.

#25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet: Eric Lux, Tom Kimber-Smith, Michael Marsal, Sean Rayhall
#25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet: Eric Lux, Tom Kimber-Smith, Michael Marsal, Sean Rayhall

Photo by: Richard Sloop

Competing in the LMPC category, Marsal co-drove in Sebring with his Rolex 24 teammate Tom Kimber-Smith as well as Sean Rayhall and Eric Lux. Starting on the LMPC front row, Kimber-Smith opened the race behind the wheel before turning the car over to Marsal just 30 minutes into the race.

Racing on the same track where he got his first taste of Prototype machinery in a test with Dyson Racing, Marsal posted a highlight-reel of a stint.

Returning to the fray 49th in the overall order, Marsal had a traffic jam ahead as he looked to return the car to podium position. With four different classes all doing battle for the same stretch of bumpy Florida pavement, it took both speed and patience to make progress. Fortunately, Marsal showed both in equal measure and an hour and thirty minutes into his stint, had moved up to 32nd overall and fifth in class. 30 minutes later, more upward mobility was in store as he was back to third in LMPC and ran as high as 18th overall.

Lap after pounding lap, Marsal kept the pace and the effort on track as he muscled through nearly four hours of consecutive driving, turing the car over from third in class as he was greeted by a hugely enthusiastic and supportive 8Star Motorports crew recognizing the outstanding effort that had put the team in position for another big result.

“That was incredible,” said a pumped-up Marsal. “I can’t believe I was out there that long. The car was pretty good and it was just all about being smart and picking your spots (to pass). It can be hard to be patient but you can see (by other cautions) how not being patient can hurt. I know I am going to be tired tomorrow afternoon, but right now I feel great!”

That racer’s high was unfortunately soon let down after Marsal’s teammate suffered a crash in traffic shortly after taking over the car, compromising the effort as the team had to make repairs to the LMPC. The foursome fought to the finish, taking a fifth in class result after 271 laps of racing.

Up next for Marsal will be a West Coast visit as the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge heads to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca May 3-4.

Michael Marsal

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Series TUSC
Article type Race reports
Tags michael marsal, prototype challenge, sebring 12 hour

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