Christophe Bouchut PR
A Frenchman in the American Le Mans Series
On March 17th, Christophe Bouchut will take part in the 60th edition of the 12 Hours of Sebring, which will be the opening round of the 2012 American Le Mans Series. He will be the only French driver taking part in this series, with an HPD (Honda Performance Development) ARX-03b LM P2 entered by American team Level 5 Motorsports. But the winner of the 1993 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will also be heading back to the Sarthe in June…
A faithful heart
It was in 2008 that Christophe Bouchut first met up with Level 5 Motorsports. Since then, he has shared many successes with the American team, including a fine 2011 season. Finishing third at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, they also claimed the double crown in the LM P2 category of the American Le Mans Series, both Teams and Drivers. “I would like to thank the team owner, Scott Tucker, for renewing his confidence in me. To continue year after year with people you know well allows strong, solid bonds to be created,” Christophe said. «In terms of continuity and faithfulness, this beautiful adventure reminds me of what I knew with Kremer Racing or Larbre Compétition earlier in my career.”
The mechanics were delighted, and applauded my return to the pits.
A quality programme
From Sebring to Petit Le Mans, the American Le Mans Series includes ten races, varying from two to twelve hours, in the United States of America and Canada. « For an American team, the ALMS is a logical objective, but it is also one of the leading endurance championships in the world, with fantastic and well-organised events. It was not realistic to take part in the World Championship as well, considering the logistical problems. Despite the economic climate, the level of the ALMS is rising, and we are sure to have plenty of opposition in the LM P2 class. “My American dream continues, and I am still delighted every time I cross the Atlantic.”
Level 5 Motorsports will be racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, their victory at the Petit Le Mans having earned them an invitation from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. For his 19th participation in this event, Christophe Bouchut is expecting a tough battle, with 18 cars entered in the LMP2 category.
The aim: victory
The 12 Hours of Sebring will be a particularly important event in terms of retaining the LM P2 titles in the ALMS. Christophe will be running, as in 2011, with Scott Tucker and Joao Barbosa, at the wheel of the nr 55 HPD. Victory is within reach in the event, which he already won in 2010 with Level 5 Motorsports in the LMPC (Le Mans Prototype Challenge) category. In early February, he set the best LM P2 time, second overall behind the HPD LM P1 during the winter test. “My time of 1’51’’522 was over two seconds faster than the 2011 LM P2 pole time. The mechanics were delighted, and applauded my return to the pits. The people from Honda, who were present for the test, can be reassured as far as the potential of the HPD ARX-03b is concerned. We do not know what our rivals have in store for us, but our car has got off to a good start and Level 5 is a reference in the ALMS paddock.”
The 60th edition of the event should hold all its promises in terms of the show. Over 60 cars are on the entry list, including the reinforcements from the World Endurance Championship. “I am expecting a big party atmosphere and an extraordinary race. The traffic on track will be infernal, but the performance of the LM P2 cars allows us to manage this aspect of endurance racing quite serenely.”
Finally, this year will see Christophe celebrate yet another anniversary, as it is 30 years since he claimed his first French Championship! That was in Douvrin, in karting, in the ‘Blue Class’ ... More on this later in the season, during a special event. But for now… all eyes on Florida!