Scott Tucker and Level 5 Motorsports Announce World Championship Bid, Invited to 24 Hours of Le Mans
Intercontinental Le Mans Cup Competition Sees Team on Three Continents, Eight Countries
Level 5 Motorsports is taking their championship-winning ways to the global stage. On February 9th, in Paris, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) made a formal invitation to team owner Scott Tucker to compete in the 24 Hours of Le mans and the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) in 2011. Level 5 will be the only American team competing in the prototype class in the seven-race ILMC schedule that coincides with the American Le Mans Series, in which they will campaign two LMP2 entries for the first time in 2011.
Tucker, the ALMS' Rookie of the Year who also earned driver and team championships in the LMPC class in the ALMS last season, will participate in ILMC races at Sebring International Raceway in March; Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps -- the 24 Hours of Spa -- in Belgium in May; the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in June; Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy, in July; Silverstone Circuit in England in September; and Road Atlanta in October. The ILMC finale is set for China at a circuit and time yet to be determined.
In a recent article by SPEEDTV.COM, Tucker was described as "one of the best pro-am drivers in sports car racing."
"This is the pinnacle of international sports car racing -- the best cars and the best drivers in the world," Tucker said. "This is something that we at Level 5 Motorsports have been working on for a while; something that we have been pointing to. We've already proven ourselves and that we belong in that category. Now, we want to take our organization to that level and compete on the global stage."
The ILMC schedule will take Tucker and Level 5 Motorsports to venues at which they have yet to race. But, new tracks and events are only hurdles that the team continues to vault over every season.
"The Intercontinental Le Mans Cup schedule is certainly a grueling one," Level 5 Motorsports Team Manager David Stone said. "To begin with, endurance racing is something that is not for the faint of heart. We have a pretty good record when it comes to endurance races. We're really looking forward the challenge of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup."
In addition to the ILMC, Level 5 Motorsports has been working feverishly during this offseason to prepare two new Microsoft-sponsored, Honda-powered Lola LMP2 entries. Tucker will once again be joined by Christophe Bouchut, winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and a two-time winner of the 24 Hours of Spa.
Tucker's involvement in the ILMC adds to an already busy race schedule for the Level 5 Motorsports driver. After participating in the prestigious GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series opener, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, in January, Tucker and Level 5 will begin to get acquainted with the LMP2 car during a private four-day test at the end of February.
As the team embarks on the global quest, an impressive collection of racing's premier technical partners is on board to provide Level 5 with the tools needed to compete at racing's highest level.
"We are delighted to welcome Level 5 Motorsports to our expanding portfolio of LMP customers," said Lola owner and Executive Chairman Martin Birrane. "After an excellent first year in ALMS in 2010, they have proved they are a very professionally run team and I am sure they will be in the hunt for more honors."
The Lola coupe will be powered by Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), the Honda racing company within North America that provides technical support for high-performance racing programs. HPD is the single engine supplier to the IZOD IndyCar Series and provides engines for prototype sportscar racing in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and European Le Mans Series (LMS). Honda earned a win in their inaugural attempt at the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as the LMP1 and LMP2 Championship in ALMS in 2009 and the ALMS LMP Championship in 2010.
"Level 5's expansion into the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup launches another exciting chapter in HPD's prototype sportscar racing activities," said Steve Eriksen, Assistant Vice President of Honda Performance Development. "Following our success in the ALMS, LMS, and at Le Mans in 2010, we are pleased to join Level 5 in participating in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup for the first time. We look forward to supporting Level 5's racing efforts as the team competes on an international stage against worthy competition."
The new cars will also feature a new tire as the team has formed a technical partnership with Michelin. The team will compete for the Michelin Green X Challenge award at each ALMS event for the fastest, cleanest, most efficient Prototype under the formula established by the EPA, DOE and SAE International.
"Michelin is pleased to continue our technical partnership with Scott Tucker and the Level 5 team as they continue an exciting progression from their inaugural Le Mans Prototype Challenge class ALMS championship in 2010 to the LMP 2 class and Le Mans in 2011," said Silvia Mammone, Manager Motorsports, Michelin North America.
"We've identified partners that share our goals," Tucker said. "Our decision to work with Lola, Honda and Michelin reflects our commitment to putting the best cars on the track every time we race. As this team goes racing across the globe, we need the best technical partners."
Returning as Level 5's primary sponsor and partner this year is Microsoft with a dramatic expansion of the Microsoft Office partnership of 2010. In addition to Microsoft Office, the Office 365 and Windows Azure brands will utilize the team as a test bed for the latest in cloud-based computing technologies.
"Microsoft Office is proud to partner again with Level 5 in their pursuit of a global championship" said Chris Barry, Director in Microsoft Office. "Showcasing the power of our software technology with a high performance organization like Level 5, competing on multiple continents will certainly be exciting."
Prashant Ketkar, Director of Product Marketing with Microsoft Azure, seconds that enthusiasm.
"For us, the bottom line is helping clients win. Windows Azure's numerous data centers, located in North America, Europe and Asia, are perfectly positioned to help Level 5 gain a competitive advantage by leveraging cloud-based data and applications."
New partner Alpina, one of the foremost watch brands in the world, joins Level 5 for the 2011 season.
"Alpina is delighted to sponsor Level 5's drivers for the ALMS and ILMC campaign," said Ralph Simons, President Alpina Frederique Constant USA, Ltd. "This team is an excellent showcase for our products and commitment to high-performance racing."
The tremendous success of the team has not gone unnoticed in racing circles -- and beyond, as the broad media coverage of the team's efforts suggests.
"Level 5 is quickly becoming one of the powerhouse teams in sportscar racing competition," wrote John Dagys on SPEEDTV.com recently. "In the ALMS, Tucker will continue to be one of the busiest drivers in the paddock ..."
A recent Wall Street Journal profile chronicled Tucker's ascension into racing's elite as well.
"It's impressive enough that Mr. Tucker, at 48 years old, fulfilled a lifelong dream by racing at Le Mans," A.J. Baime wrote. "He also became the first American to pilot one of Audi's multi-million dollar V-12 turbo diesels in competition."
The 2011 ALMS and ILMC seasons kick off with the famed 12 Hours of Sebring, March 19.
-source: level 5 motorsports