Christian Potolicchio, Dalton Sargeant, Daniel Conway and Lamont Harris will drive for 8Star Motorsports in the season-opening round of the 2014 Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship.
8Star Motorsports will run four-cars for Christian Potolicchio, Dalton Sargeant, Daniel Conway and Lamont Harris in the season-opening round of the 2014 Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship Powered by Mazda at Sebring International Raceway in Florida (13-16 March).
The leading 8Star Motorsports team has designed a multi-step competition ladder to help prospective endurance racers progress in their careers, with the Prototype Lites Championship providing young hopefuls with an opportunity to hone their skills in entry-level high-downforce machinery before stepping up to the headlining TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Christian Potolicchio – the son of 8Star Team Principal, Enzo – enters Prototype Lites for the second consecutive season.
“I’m delighted to be back for my second consecutive year in the IMSA Prototype Lites Championship and I’m looking forward to returning to Sebring International Raceway – a track I’m very comfortable with,” said Potolicchio. “This year I will arrive at circuits with experience and my own car setups. 8Star Motorsports is doing a great job and continues to work hard to give me a competitive car. I will make the best of Sebring, with consistent points finishes the target as I think about the championship.”
Dalton Sargeant, aged 15, emerged as one to watch in the 2014 Prototype Lites Championship after topping the timesheets during pre-season testing at Sebring (24-25 February).
The 2011 Rotax Max Challenge United States Grand Nationals Karting Champion rapidly ascended up the lap charts to finally churn out the only sub-two-minute lap of the test (1m59.251s) and is duly targeting victory at the Florida-based circuit this weekend.
“I’m very confident in the car and I have to admit to being quite surprised about being so much quicker than the rest during the Sebring test,” said Sargeant. “I’m not going to get ahead of myself, though. The gap will close during the race weekend and there’s still a long way to go - I’m here to learn the ropes and will use the Sebring weekend to hone my driving and understand how 8Star Motorsports operates. I’ve been immensely impressed with the team’s professionalism and the quality of its preparations so far and this all fills me with confidence. I’m hoping to at least scale the podium but I’ll do anything to make sure I get a win!”
Daniel Conway sampled Prototype Lites machinery for the first time during testing at Sebring in February, having previously built a solid foundation driving race-tuned Miatas and Sedans.
The Fredericksburg, Virginia-domiciled youngster showed a great turn of speed in testing but will utilise Sebring’s opening round of the 2014 season to continue acclimatising to high-downforce prototypes and narrow the gap to his more experienced rivals.
“It is a massive honour to be part of such a professional and high calibre team like 8Star Motorsports,” said Conway. “In fact, I’ve been dreaming of this since first meeting Enzo (Potolicchio) a few years ago. In addition, my teammates are all amazing and they each bring speed and experience that I hope to draw on.
“My goal for Sebring is simply to improve on my lap times and run competitively. A top ten result would be most ideal, but these will be my first races in such a high-downforce car with this much power – it’s really challenging, because the Lites car is approximately 25 seconds per lap faster than anything I’ve driven before, so acclimatising to it will be the biggest hurdle for me to overcome.”
Lamont Harris steps up to 8Star’s Prototype Lites ranks and believes that years of hard work and effort will make him a force to be reckoned with in the IMSA-sanctioned championship’s top tier throughout 2014.
“My coach and I have worked really hard over the last two years, but I think we’ve made a lot of headway recently,” said Harris. “I think we have a good chance of competing at the sharp end in 2014 and I cannot wait to get the racing underway at Sebring. I had a blast during the test and learnt an awful lot. 8Star Motorsports is a really great team and I’m looking forward to the season. The levels of preparation are phenomenal – it’s in a different league to anything I’ve experienced before – and this gives me a lot of confidence to push the car hard. I’m really enjoying the ride and my goal is to end the year in the top five.”