Level 5 Motorsports Bitten By Cruel Luck At Spa
What was shaping up to be a productive outing at the historic Spa-Francorchamps circuit came to a dramatic end for Level 5 Motorsports in Saturday’s 1000km of Spa. The second round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup saw the Scott Tucker-owned organization make steady gains throughout the weekend, despite having limited track time with their Microsoft Office 2010-sponsored Lola-Honda Coupe.
After a solid qualifying run by Christophe Bouchut, Tucker, started the six-hour race from ninth in the highly competitive LMP2 division. The three-time national driving champion made considerable progress before being pushed into the gravel trap by another prototype in the second hour.
The car began to spin, and apparently what people saw on TV, the car began to pick up air.
Despite the setback and subsequent trip to the garage for repairs to the car’s rear deck, the team managed to get Tucker back out to complete his double-stint. Handing over to Bouchut at the one-hour and 45-minute mark, the veteran Frenchman was solidly in control until the Lola-Honda Coupe suffered an yet-to-be-determined mechanical failure heading into the ultra-fast Eau Rouge section on Lap 71.
“In that corner, we’re flat out in sixth gear and something suddenly broke in the rear,” Bouchut explained. “The car began to spin, and apparently what people saw on TV, the car began to pick up air. I couldn’t slow down the car in that kind of situation. Suddenly the wall came up on me so quickly. I knew it would have been a big impact and it was.”
The massive impact left Bouchut buried in the barriers. Luckily, he climbed out of the heavily damaged car uninjured, but the day was done for he and co-drivers Tucker and Joao Barbosa.
“We’re not exactly sure what happened,” said team manager David Stone. “It looks like we may have some sort of failure on the right rear of the car. We don’t know exactly know what caused it but I’m sure we’ll be taking an in-depth look at it and see if we can determine the cause of it.
“We had a similar situation at Sebring, so we really have to nail down what actually happened before I’m willing to put our drivers back in the car. We need to feel comfortable that we’ve resolved whatever it might be,” Stone added.
With five weeks before the next round in Level 5’s global sports car tour, it will give the team ample time to diagnose and correct any potential issues. And with a spare Lola-Honda Coupe already in Europe, there’s also no shortage of resources to come back even stronger.
Next up for Tucker and Level 5 is the second round of the Ferrari Challenge at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 22. It will then be off to France for the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 11-12, where the team will be making its debut in the world's most prestigious endurance race.
-source: level 5 motorsports