MADISON, Wis. — From the trees and lakes of Wisconsin, Level 5 Motorsports and Scott Tucker now turn their attention to the brick and steel of Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the original retro-look ball park. Round eight of the American Le Mans Series, which shares the billing with the IZOD IndyCar Series, takes place on the 2-mile, 12-turn temporary street circuit. A one-time railroad center forms the backdrop to the temporary pit lane, which is only 2 blocks from the birthplace of baseball's most legendary hero, George Herman "Babe" Ruth.
The P2 class championship leaders go into the two-hour sprint race on Saturday, September 1 knowing it will be important to secure as many points as possible to solidify their position in the standings. While the narrow, bumpy configuration of the Baltimore street track, inaugurated just last year, won’t necessarily favor the LMP cars as much as the GT classes, at this stage of the season all points count.
Two Level 5 entries will be in action this weekend. The No.055 HPD ARX-03b will be in the fast and capable hands of its regular drivers, Scott Tucker and Christophe Bouchut, while the No.95 will for this race be piloted by the Mexican duo of Luis Diaz and Ricardo Gonzalez, the latter making his second appearance for the team after his Mid-Ohio debut. Of the four, only Gonzalez raced at Baltimore last year so his experience and technical feedback will be invaluable to the engineering team in their preparations for the race. Despite not having competed here before, a return to the top step of the podium will be the principal target for Tucker and Bouchut, while Diaz and Gonzalez will be looking to improve upon their third place finish in round six.
Team Manager David Stone says of the forthcoming event: “The challenges are multiple and include different types of pavement, patches and track surfaces and the selection of the right gearing. When you’ve been to a track before you are usually on the nail with it first time out, or maybe just a little way off, but this is new territory for us. We have studied the track layout in detail to get an idea of the radius of corners and distances and that, together with our knowledge of similar track environments such as Long Beach, helps with set up as well as gearing.
“On a practical level the pits are the other side of the track from the paddock and a long way from start/finish so we’ll have to be extremely organised in our planning.”
Scott Tucker appreciates the enormity of the task ahead: “We don’t have much track time here at Baltimore, just two hours of practice before qualifying, so we need to get it right. We also need to have a clean run in practice to take every advantage of all the laps we can and, as we know, that’s not always easy on a street course. Things didn’t work out as we’d hoped in Road America but we have this event and then two longer races to come before the end of the season so there’s plenty still to play for.”
Source: Level 5 Motorsports