Scott Tucker and the Level 5 Motorsports team have been actively preparing for the 80th 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s most challenging and prestigious sports car race. But before the cars can take to the track, they must undergo a rigorous technical inspection known as scrutineering. Beyond the sporting importance of this technical operation, it also provides free entertainment that spectators love — starting with the Le Mans citizens who flock to the square in large numbers to see the cars and drivers entered for the famous endurance race.
Scrutineering is a two-stage process that tests both the safety equipment used by the drivers, such as helmets, fire extinguishers, lights and the strength of the driver’s safety harness, etc., as well as the compliance of the race vehicles with technical regulations. It is the second phase that the public enjoys. This year, scrutineering returns to its traditional home: the Place de la République in Le Mans.
“This is a very serious part of our preparation, but it is great that we can have fun with it, too,” said Tucker, Level 5 team owner and driver. “Fans can get a close up look at the cars and can interact with the teams. It has really become a great part of the event week. And to be back in the town center is going to be great for the fans.”
Tucker and Level 5 will return to Le Mans this year in the No. 33HPD ARX-03b. Last year, the team competed in its first 24 Hours of Le Mans and earned a podium finish with Tucker, Frenchman Christophe Bouchut and Portuguese veteran Joao Barbosa sharing the driving duties.
“Without question, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the biggest race on the biggest stage,” Tucker said. “To have had success there is great and we are looking to improve on that this year.”
Joining Tucker and Bouchut this year will be Level 5 teammate Luis Diaz, one of the most successful drivers hailing from Mexico. He recently helped the team to victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Scrutineering has been held at different venues since the first 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1923. In 2010-2011 it took place on the Place des Jacobins, but it was moved for 2012 because of ongoing tramway works. The process takes most of two days and will be held June 10-11, 2012. The race itself begins Saturday, June 16 and ends Sunday, June 17. It will be covered live by SPEED in the United States.