Scott Tucker and Level 5 Motorsports may be in the final stages of preparation for the third round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón, but the objective has long been set: victory in the P2 class for a third consecutive year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and a third win from three races in the 2012 ALMS season.
As already announced, Tucker — a five-time national driving champion from Leawood, Kan. — will share driving duties in Level 5’s pair of HPD ARX-03b entries by F1 and Team Peugeot Total driver Franck Montagny, from Grandvaud, France. The two will be joined by regulars Luis Diaz, from Mexico City, Mexico, in the No. 95 and Christophe Bouchut, from Voiron, France, in the No. 055.
The six-hour race into the darkness will not only provide the team with that opportunity, but it will also be a perfect run up to next month’s ultimate endurance racing test, the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. The week following the California race presents team manager David Stone and his personnel with as great a logistical challenge as any faced throughout a season of racing throughout North America.
Tucker will be a busy man over the weekend as, in addition to his ALMS commitments, he will also be campaigning a Level 5 Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup car in the 32-entry IMSA GT3 Challenge by Yokohama and racing in the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites series. He says of the coming weekend: “Track time and knowledge is important for every venue, but even more so for Laguna Seca. It’s one of those courses that can make you smile to yourself inside your helmet when you get the perfect lap, and practice makes perfect. It’s going to be great having Franck along with us to add to our driver line up, and I’m confident of a successful weekend.”
Built on a former US Army base, the 2.238 mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca road course on the Monterey Peninsula, California, is challenging for drivers and engineers alike with its 11 turns and many ups and downs. The famous Corkscrew turn, a steep drop away over a blind 90-degree left-hand bend that immediately sweeps away to the right, is one of the highlights here and is an awesome place for spectators to watch the action.
Stone recognizes the multiple challenges the track can present: “The track is notoriously slippery due to the sand surrounding the asphalt, which is often either blown on or brought onto the track by another car. You can be having an inch-perfect race but get caught up in the fall-out from someone else’s misfortune which can change your race or strategy in an instant. A fast lap here takes every ounce of skill that a driver possesses and, as always with endurance racing, staying out of trouble is key to success.”
Level 5 Motorsports and Tucker have had great success at Laguna Seca in 2010 and 2011, winning the PC and P2 classes respectively, and finishing fourth overall in last year’s six-hour enduro. That event marked the first running by Level 5 of the HPD ARX-01b, and both the team and the car performed flawlessly throughout the weekend.
With Honda Performance Development and the team both working hard to continually enhance the performance and endurance reliability of the HPD ARX-03b Honda, there is little doubt that Level 5 will go into the event as hot favorites.
The American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patrón is set for 1:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, May 12, from the 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. ESPN2 airs the race at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 13. Live coverage is available starting at 4:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3.