A dress rehearsal for the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans took place Sunday in France, and was an extremely successful day for Scott Tucker and Level 5 Motorsports. After eight hours of testing, split into two four-hour sessions, the team achieved all its pre-defined goals and set some very competitive times in the tightly-contested LMP2 category.
Christophe Bouchut recorded a fast lap of 3:41.598 in the No. 33 HPD ARX-03b to claim second in class, only narrowly edged out by the French Oak Racing team. However, times recorded in a test session are relatively meaningless as teams run different strategies in terms of fuel loads, tire wear and set ups to individually prepare for the race.
The one-day test was the only official pre-event session before the main event on June 16/17, and Kansas City Native Tucker profited from the occasion to run a second HPD. He achieved almost 600 miles in the No. 95 car although this chassis will not be entered for the race, and commented afterwards: “We had a pretty good day and got a serious amount of miles under our belts. Our engineering team had a long list of things for us to try and we methodically worked our way through that, despite there being a few interruptions for rain showers and red flags. We got to the end of the day without any damage to either of the cars, and are looking in good shape for the race.”
One of the priorities on the ‘to-do’ list was to qualify Le Mans rookie Luis Diaz. The Mexican had to complete a minimum of 10 laps of the track, a task he approached with great enthusiasm. “I’ve been preparing for this as much as I can using video games and studying as many things as possible but nothing really prepares you for the real thing until you get in the car. It’s a unique place – very fast and a lot of fun to drive but you can’t afford to make any mistakes. I’m very happy with the car and we’re very close to having the fastest car today. So far, so good.”
The team will now remain in France to prepare the No. 33 car for the next round of track action which starts on Wednesday, June 13. Before that time, official Administrative and Technical Scrutineering takes place in the centre of Le Mans in front of many thousands of enthusiastic fans.
The 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will begin on Saturday, June 16 at 3.00 pm local CET (10.00 am EST) from the 8-mile Le Mans street course in France, and end at 3.00 pm on Sunday. Official practice/qualifying takes place on Wednesday, June 13 and Thursday, June