ILMC Team News - Level 5 Motorsports Ready For Spa 1000 km
Spa Francorchamps, May 7, 2011: With limited track time, it’s been a challenging weekend thus far for Level 5 Motorsports on their 1000 km of Spa debut. Yet at the end of Friday’s qualifying session, the Scott Tucker-owned organization made its biggest gain yet ahead of Saturday’s six-hour Intercontinental Le Mans Cup race.
Level 5 unloaded at the historic 4.352-mile Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps with confidence following back-to-back LMP2 class victories with its Microsoft Office 2010-sponsored Lola-Hondas. But faced with its stiffest competition yet in LMP2, coupled with racing in a new environment, nobody headed in under the illusion that it would be a walk in the park.
On Thursday, the car suffered electrical issues in the opening practice session, resulting in team owner Scott Tucker completing only a handful of laps at the wheel of the No. 33 Lola-Honda Coupe. While the small gremlin, tied to a faulty wheel speed sensor, was quickly diagnosed and solved, it cost the team valuable track time.
Tucker and co-drivers Christophe Bouchut and Joao Barbosa made continual progress throughout the final two practice sessions prior to qualifying, but were hit with a series of red flags for incidents. The trio had turned less than 30 laps in all three sessions combined as a result.
However, Bouchut managed to make a massive improvement in qualifying, setting a 2:13.851 lap time. It was a four-second gain on his time from the morning and will put the Microsoft Office 2010-sponsored prototype ninth on the grid for the race.
“We’ve improved a lot since yesterday, especially this morning,” Bouchut said. “Of course in this game, everyone makes progress. We’re still missing some straight-line speed, but we’ll continue working. The car is nice to drive, we just need more speed. Tomorrow will be a long race, so we’ll make the best decision.”
With Level 5’s Lola-Honda Coupe some 10 mph down on straight-line speed compared to the competition in LMP2, team manager David Stone has been pleased with the progress made under challenging circumstances.
“It’s been one of those difficult weekends and you have those sometimes, especially for a team that’s never been to a track before” Stone explained. “A lot of people have been here many times, including our drivers, fortunately. Our biggest improvement has been getting Scott in the car and getting seat time. He had a really good session this morning and made huge improvements in his lap times.
“We’re not as happy as we would have liked to have been with the qualifying time, but we’ve made some improvements,” Stone continued. “It’s a six hour race so a lot of things can happen. We’ll have to take it from here and tomorrow is race day."
The 1000 km of Spa, the second round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, gets underway Saturday at 2:05 pm CET (8:05 am ET). Radio Le Mans (http://www.radiolemans.com) will provide live radio coverage of the race.