Following a dominant year, which included his third consecutive American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón championship and three additional national titles, Scott Tucker and Level 5 Motorsports are set to cap off the 2012 season in style this weekend at the brand new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Tucker will be among the select few drivers to christen the state-of-the-art facility, as the nine-time national driving champion will take part in the Ferrari Challenge and Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA West races. Both series support Sunday’s U.S. Formula 1 Grand Prix, with more than 100,000 fans expected to be in attendance.
I’m really looking forward to getting out there for the first time.
The history making weekend will not only see the world’s premier form of motorsport return to America after a five-year hiatus, but also Tucker back in his old stomping grounds of Ferrari Challenge, where the Kansas City native remains one of the most successful drivers in series history.
Tucker has nearly two dozen Ferrari Challenge victories to his credit, including a single-season record of ten wins in 2009, which helped take his Level 5-run Boardwalk Ferrari team to the Ferrari Challenge Dealership Championship. He also became the first driver to win with the Ferrari 458 Challenge race car in 2011.
Having focused his efforts on ALMS this season, which saw his Level 5 team score its third straight championship with eight P2 class victories out of ten races, Tucker will be making his first Ferrari Challenge start of the year in a highly competitive field of 35 drivers for the pair of 10-lap/25-minute races.
“I don’t think we could have picked a better venue than CoTA for our return to Ferrari Challenge,” said Tucker. “It’s been a great year and to end it at such a historical event, running with Formula 1, is something special. It will be great to see some of my old friends who have also come back to do this race. I’m really looking forward to getting out there for the first time.”
Ferrari 458 Challenge car through its paces in a recent two-day test at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nev. Veteran Ferrari engineer Silvio Campigli, who engineered Tucker’s 458s at Le Mans and past Ferrari World Finals, was also in attendance and will be with Level 5 again this weekend.
“The team hasn’t stopped working since Petit Le Mans,” Tucker added. “It’s amazing the amount of work that goes into each race and it shows the commitment we’ve made in the last few years. To go from a Ferrari Challenge operation to a three-time ALMS championship-winning team is not an easy task. It’s great to be going back to our roots this weekend.”
In addition to driving duties in the Ferrari 458 Challenge car, Tucker will also be at the helm of his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in Sunday morning’s Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA West race. The entry, run in conjunction by Kelly Moss Motorsports, will be one of an expected 30-car field for the 10-lap/25-minute sprint race.
While the 3.427-mile, 20-turn circuit, designed by veteran F1 architect Hermann Tilke, will be a new experience for everyone, it will provide Tucker with valuable knowledge of the new track prior to the first ALMS race there, scheduled as a double-header weekend with the FIA World Endurance Championship on Sept. 20-22, 2013.
"It’s a new track, a Formula 1 weekend and is on the ALMS schedule for next year, so it's a good opportunity to get some track time there for Scott,” explained Level 5 team manager David Stone. “I expect it to be a competitive race. Scott has been out of Ferrari Challenge for a year, so I think the primary objective will be to go out there and do as well as possible with realistic expectations given all that goes along with it.”
Level 5 Motorsports