Level 5, Tucker take fourth consecutive Sebring win

Level 5, Tucker take fourth consecutive Sebring win
Mar 18, 2013, 1:31 PM

Finish 1-2, Tucker breaks drive time record.

Sebring, Fla. — Level 5 Motorsports and Scott Tucker shattered the record books yet again, as both team and driver scored their fourth consecutive Sebring victory, and 1-2 sweep, in Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, the opening round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.

#551 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b HPD: Scott Tucker, Marino Franchitti, Ryan Briscoe
#551 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b HPD: Scott Tucker, Marino Franchitti, Ryan Briscoe

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Level 5’s two Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort-sponsored Honda Performance Development ARX-03b prototypes dominated the Florida endurance classic from the onset, with the No. 552 car of IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay moving into an early lead in the P2 class, with team principal Tucker, a nine-time national driving champion, logging a massive quadruple opening stint in the pole-sitting No. 551 entry.

With their closest competitor suffering mechanical issues prior to the halfway point, the David Stone-led organization was convincingly in control of the race. Both HPDs, co-driven by Tucker, sports car veteran Marino Franchitti and IndyCar driver Ryan Briscoe, plus Hunter-Reay and former ALMS champion Pagenaud in the sister car, along with Tucker, ran like clockwork through the grueling afternoon and nighttime hours.

Franchitti had the honor of taking the No. 551 car to the checkered flag, finishing one lap ahead of the No. 552 HPD of Hunter-Reay, in another flawless performance for the three-time ALMS championship-winning organization.

What’s more, Level 5 became only the second team in Sebring history to win four straight races, with Tucker joining the illustrious company of Bob Holbert, Sascha Maassen and Olivier Gendebien as the only four-time consecutive winners in the event’s 61-year history.

"It's been an incredible weekend for Level 5," said Tucker. "Sebring is such a hard race and to win four in a row here is just amazing. We've worked really hard for this, from the guys prepping the cars back at the shop to all of the testing and practice we did here this week. Everything went to plan in the race.

I'm really grateful and fortunate to have driven with such good teammates as Marino and Ryan, as well as Simon and Ryan in the other car. This win is going to be one I'll never forget."

Posting his 90th career win, Tucker drove six hours and 45 minutes between both cars, more than any other driver in the 42-car starting field.

Making it even more special, the Kansas City native was able to share the top step of the P2 podium with both Franchitti and Briscoe, who took their long-awaited first Sebring wins. All three drivers were presented with commemorative Rolex watches for their winning effort.

"I've been the bridesmaid here three times, so I really wanted the victory and I’m obviously delighted to get it with Level 5," Franchitti said. "Honda and HPD have done a great job this week.

We've had a challenging week, but ultimately successful. I think the team has worked so hard. To see how close the cars were in qualifying, we did exactly the same lap time in the race between the two cars. It was a great team effort, so I'm delighted to be part of it."

Briscoe, who made his Level 5 debut this weekend, commented: "We've gone through some challenges but everyone's worked so hard. I think all of the boys were up until 3 a.m. this morning working on the cars.

Then today, the cars just ran flawlessly. It's amazing. This is really a race I wanted to win so badly. I've been here a couple of times before but had issues in the races.

To come here, with this team Scott has put together, has been great. The cars have run flawlessly, the pit stops were absolutely perfect. I don't think any of us put a wheel off today. We didn't want to have an exciting race and just keep it smooth and steady. It all went to plan."

Following a history making day in Sebring, Tucker and Level 5 will look to continue their winning ways in another world-renowned sportscar race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The French endurance classic, celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, is scheduled for June 22-23, with the official test day on June 9. Further news regarding Level 5’s driver lineup for the race, as well as potential additional ALMS races, will be made at a later date.

Level 5 Motorsports

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