Victory is the sole objective for the leading 8Star Motorsports team in the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Sahlen’s 6 Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International in New York (27-29 June).
The Venezuelan team, based out of state-of-the-art facilities in Pompano Beach, Florida, stood atop the LMPC podium in the most recent round of the TUDOR Championship, Sean Rayhall and Mexican Luis Diaz taking command of the Grand Prix of Kansas sprint races with 8Star’s ORECA FLM09 prototype.
Rayhall returns to the cockpit of the arresting orange-liveried #25 machine for this weekend’s highly-anticipated 6 Hours of The Glen alongside Briton Tom Kimber-Smith and New Yorker Eric Lux, who return to the 8Star fold for the first time since the 12 Hours of Sebring in March.
This being Lux’s home race, there’s a heightened desire to perform and, following a super-productive, high-intensity test at ‘The Glen’ four weeks ago, the Williamsville-based racer is brimming with optimism about 8Star’s chances of victory.
“I completed over 250 miles during a single day of testing at ‘The Glen’ and it went very well,” said Lux. “The team and its engineers learnt a decent amount in varying conditions, all of which was very useful for me. While it’s my home track, I haven’t been to Watkins Glen since 2009 and the test proved to be a re-familiarisation with the circuit and a car that I haven’t raced since Sebring.
“As a result, I think the goal is to go for the win this weekend. The circuit is going to be an equaliser and with such a strong driver line-up and crew, we go into the race at a good level. The most valuable part of testing is getting so many clean miles because, with the format of the new TUDOR Championship, running is limited and the sessions are often littered with red flags. Seat time is drastically down compared to everything I’ve experienced before.”
Rayhall echoed Lux’s sentiments and felt just as positive about 8Star’s rate of progression with its LMPC racer since the start of the season, but particularly after the Watkins Glen pre-event test.
“I’m feeling good about a podium effort, as we tested extensively at The Glen and 8Star’s engineer, Yves, made some fantastic breakthroughs with the car’s setup that leave us all full of confidence going into this weekend’s endurance race,” said Rayhall. “I completed over 200 miles of running that was essential for getting a feel and finding improvements. Our performance is better overall and the ORECA is head-to-toe and different car to what we’ve been driving.
“8Star’s rate of progression with the car is impressive and I’m really happy with the pace. However, the 6 Hours of The Glen is about survival and everything falling into place, it isn’t a race where you can dominate straight out of the blocks. I think we have the car to win and, if we’re smart, we can come out with a good result. Good points to strengthen our championship position are essential here, but it all depends how well things shake out on the day.”
Enzo Potolicchio and his 8Star Motorsports squad are committed to the development of young and talented drivers from across the globe and formed a comprehensive multi-step 'stairway of talent' to provide prospective sportscar racers with an unbroken route to the uppermost echelons of international motorsport.
Christian Potolicchio and Lamont Harris both currently stand on the first rung of 8Star's ladder of progression in the IMSA-sanctioned Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship, which holds a prestigious and high-profile position on the support bill for the TUDOR Championship.
Both Potolicchio and Harris will vie for victory at Watkins Glen this weekend as they attempt to stamp their authority in the 2014 Prototype Lites title race and establish themselves as Champions of the future in sportscar racing.
Potolicchio said: "I am very excited, as this is my first time at Watkins Glen, which is a track with so much history. The team has been working hard on the car and had the opportunity to work with my teammate Lamont (Harris) at The Glen during a couple of test days quite recently, so I'm confident the car will be in good shape after solving the problems we had at Kansas Speedway."