A conversation with Jeff Segal, Level 5 driver

Working with Level 5, Ferrari and GTD/GTLM Balance of Performance are on tap with Level 5's Jeff Segal

Jeff Segal will be behind the wheel of a Level 5 Ferrari in the GTD class in 2014.

Segal, a two time Grand Am champion will leave the AIM Autosport team, but continue to wheel a Ferrari, something the driver has had a lot of success with.

“I do a lot of work with Ferrari at many different levels, so I bring a lot of experience and specific product knowledge to the team. Obviously, two years at the wheel of the Ferrari GTD car means that I am expected to give good input on setup, but I also know most of the key people in the Ferrari racing organization, which could help the team to integrate with the Ferrari system a bit faster,” said Segal.

“I do a lot of driver coaching for the Ferrari Challenge series, and I also work at the Ferrari Driving Experience and the Corso Pilota programs. I've got a lot of mileage in the Ferrari 458, between the GT, Challenge, and street versions. As it turns out, it isn't a bad way to spend time, either.”

Start: Jeff Segal and Sergey Chukanov battle for the lead
Start: Jeff Segal and Sergey Chukanov battle for the lead

Photo by: Trevor Horn

The relationship between Segal and Level 5’s Scott Tucker started back when Tucker kicked off his race team in Ferrari Challenge, and Segal says he is excited to get working with the team.

“I've known Scott Tucker and the Level 5 team for quite a while, as I'm very involved doing driver coaching in the Ferrari Challenge series where that group got started. Over the past few years, it has been great to watch them quickly climb the sports car racing ranks, and even more impressive to see the success they've had on an international level. The results speak for themselves, and I think it's fair to say that they are one of the top sports car racing teams in the world at the moment,” he said.

“When they decided to tackle the TUDOR Championship in the GTD class, and specifically with their Ferrari entries, things started to align pretty quickly to work together in 2014. I have a lot of experience with the Ferrari 458 GT3 platform, and they are a tremendously talented team with big ambitions-- I think we're all excited about working together next year.”

One aspect of the balance of performance that is raising a lot of questions after the first series test earlier this month at Sebring and Daytona is the difference between GTD and GTLM.

#552 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b HPD: Jonny Kane, Peter Dumbreck, Guy Cosmo
#552 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b HPD: Jonny Kane, Peter Dumbreck, Guy Cosmo

Photo by: Trevor Horn

Segal thinks the series should allow the GTD cars to follow the GT3 spec more closely.

“In my eyes, the issue of balancing the GTLM and GTD cars has a very simple answer, which would be for the GTD class to fully embrace the established FIA GT3 rules, and leave GTLM in the current ACO-specification. I think that if the sanctioning body would make this full shift to the GT3 rule set, you would see that the manufacturers, teams, and drivers would be almost universally enthusiastic about it,” Segal said.

“It could be done very quickly, and easily, as the parts already exist for all of the cars. There are numerous series' running worldwide that have managed to performance balance GT3 with GTLM so that they can coexist in the same races (ELMS, GT Open, Asian Le Mans Series, etc), so there wouldn't be any need to look very far at what it takes to adjust the performance. The cars are designed to run in GT3-spec, and the manufacturers all go to great lengths to engineer them well before putting them in customer hands. As it is, the biggest issue you might see in GTD vs. GTLM will be that the GTD top speeds are as high as the GTLM cars, which is a direct result of the US-series' initiative to rid the GTD cars of downforce via a smaller spec-wing, so drag is lower and top speed is higher. In full GT3-spec, this would not be an issue anymore, and the series could use much simpler restrictor and weight adjustments to do any necessary fine tuning.”

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About this article
Series IMSA
Drivers Guy Cosmo , Peter Dumbreck , Jonny Kane , Jeff Segal , Scott Tucker
Article type Special feature
Tags SPORTSCAR, ferrari, jeff, level 5, segal, tudor, united