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Scott Tucker, Level 5 Motorsports, is one with his fans

Author: Sarah Barnes  //  Category: Auto News

Competitive sports car racing isn’t quite the great spectator sport that, say, football is: Flying past a checkered flag at 200 miles per hour doesn’t leave much room for a victory dance. But motorsports fans are just as important to drivers as football fans are to wide receivers.

Level 5 Motorsports owner and driver Scott Tucker starts and ends races with his fans. After drivers’ meetings at races, before he hits the track, he heads over to sign autographs for fans. “This is where it really starts,” he has said. “Having a big fan base coming to watch you gets everybody excited and pumped up.”

The truth is, Tucker would still race even if not a single person came out to watch him-which makes him the best kind of professional athlete: a man who genuinely loves the sport. His complete disregard for any of the perks that could come with being as successful as he has been, with a unique story to boot, have a way of drawing people to the sport: What would make an investor from Leawood, Kansas enter the world of professional sports car racing as a 44-year-old rookie? Tucker’s story, an anomaly in an industry in which drivers have often been training for decades by the time they hit 44, has caught the attention of the Discovery Channel, which aired the feature film “Daytona Dream,” about Tucker and Level 5’s 2010 quest and ultimate accomplishment of a podium finish after 24 hours of grueling, continuous competition.

Fans especially in the United States have looked to Tucker also because his is the first Le Mans Prototype entry from the country in 25 years. What made him enter the ALMS? Not a sponsorship or a pay raise or anything other than the fact that he simply wanted to, a move that then begs the question, what’s so cool about Le Mans Prototype cars? The answer is, a lot-something Tucker has helped promote to a fan base that is inundated with Nascar, Grand-Am and Ferrari more so than LMP.

In fact, Tucker withdrew from a handful of important races in the 2011 season while he awaited the finishing touches on a brand new, cost-capped Honda vehicle for the team. For Level 5, which was on a breakaway winning season, the car had to be worth surrendering points and podium appearances. For Tucker, it absolutely was. He’d been monitoring updates on the car and decided it was the best model available in the LMP2 class.

“The fans are important to me because ultimately, we feel the same way about competitive sports car racing,” Tucker said. “Only, I get to be the one behind the wheel, and if I can share that with them, and they’re excited about it too, then that’s the best thing.”

Not that Tucker is a particularly difficult figure to rally behind. Not only is his story captivating and his passion for the sport undeniable-his record is pretty darn good. He won his second consecutive T1 division national championship at the SCCA runoffs at Road America, and in 2010, he served Ferrari as a test driver as it developed the next generation of supercar, the 599XX. In 2009, Tucker scored a single-season record of 10 victories in the Ferrari Challenge series and won the Ferrari Challenge Dealership Championship for Boardwalk Ferrari. He also won the Sports Car Club of America National Championship in a Ferrari 430.

After working his way through the Ferrari Challenge series and the Grand-Am series, Tucker, along with mentor and co-driver Bouchut, took an opportunity for Le Mans Prototype class competition and in 2010 won the LMP class championship, which bumped them up to the LMP2 class for 2011.

With drivers’ championships all but official this year for Tucker and Bouchut, the Level 5 Motorsports team continues to deliver action-packed, podium-worthy performances for its fans. Having stayed mostly out of the limelight, Tucker isn’t your typical sports hero, but that’s because he’s as much a fan of the sport as he is a driver in it.

Follow all the racing action at the World’s Largest Motorsports News Source.

Level 5 Means Taking It To The Next Level

Author: Glenn Patton  //  Category: Auto News

Scott Tucker was a private equity investor with a passion for race cars five years ago. Now, as he prepares to take on the American Le Mans Series Petit Le Mans championship race at Road Atlanta, he does so with a slew of victories from the 2011 season that have already secured the Level 5 team with the Le Mans Prototype 2 class championship and positioned them at No. 2 in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup series.

For Tucker, this year’s season represents the next level of motorsports, a fitting embodiment of the very idea behind Level 5 Motorsports. “Five is my favorite number,” Tucker said. “It was always my number in the sports I played through high school and college.”

But it wasn’t until later in life that the number five really represented success for Tucker; as he continued his private equity investment career, he read a book on management that described a “level 5 candidate” as someone who could take a company to the next level.

Ironically, it wasn’t until even later in life that the number five meant top-of-the-podium finishes and international success for Tucker. And incidentally, he might have been the very “level 5” person who made his motorsports company a success. He began the company in 2008, when he was just two years into his professional racing career at age 44. Although he didn’t have much experience, he had enough talent to fill a professional driver’s seat and a wealth of knowledge about the professional racing industry. He quickly joined up with Christophe Bouchut, one of the most successful endurance racers in the world, who became his mentor and co-driver. From there, Tucker has made careful, precise decisions regarding who drives his team’s cars and what cars they drive.

“That’s the whole genesis behind Level 5 Motorsports, that everybody on our team, were trying to push it to the next level,” Tucker said. “We only hire and empower people within our organization who are ‘Level 5’ candidates.

“It really came out of a management book, but it’s the blood that runs through our team,” he said.

Tucker has changed cars frequently, but his most recent acquisition being an HPD ARX-01g cost-capped chassis in the LMP2 class. Last weekend, he drove a brand new Porsche 996 Turbo for the Sports Car Club of America’s National Championship Runoffs and won. The HPD ARX-01g made a stellar debut at the ALMS Monterey earlier this month at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. Following his theme, Tucker scours the industry for the next greatest car with the most potential to deliver another level of horsepower and control. He ordered the first two ARX-01g models off the line.

He also fills his team roster with the most experienced, proven quality drivers in the world, but there’s also a strategic element. When Tucker was developing himself as a next-level driver, he relied heavily on Bouchut to be his lead driver, scoring points while Tucker took advantage of the practice time in race situations. Now, he’ll enter Petit Le Mans with Luis Diaz and Marino Franchitti, both LMP2 veterans with experience in HPD ARX models.

It might have been high school superstition, or it might have been a management book-or it might have been Scott Tucker’s natural inclination to push the boundaries of his abilities, but the meaning behind Level 5 Motorsports has never been as true as in the 2011 season.

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History In The Making: Scott Tucker’s 2010 SCCA Runoffs Appearance

Author: Neil Wagnor  //  Category: Auto News

Level 5 Motorsports owner and driver Scott Tucker made history this past weekend when he won his third consecutive title at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Only a select few other drivers have ever accomplished the same. In only his third year competing in the race, having as many wins merits an entire page in the history books for Tucker. Here’s the second part of a look back at the rides that made Scott Tucker an historic name at the SCCA Runoffs.

In 2009, Tucker faced an ebb-and-flow race situation, with him in the front, then overtaken by Scott Buttermore from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., then Tucker in front again. In 2010, Tucker redeemed his minimal mistakes from the year before by holding off most of second-place challenger Buttermore’s passing attempts for the duration of the race at Road America. Tucker was the polesitter, which ended up being integral to a good race, as he was able to avoid a major, multiple-car incident on the front straightaway just after the start. Second-place starter John Heinricy, of Holly, Mich., ran into transmission issues immediately following the green flag, and the cars around him had to maneuver around him on cold tires. In the mess, the No. 98 Dodge Viper of Jim Lynch and the No. 99 Chevrolet Corvette of Tom Sloe collided, bringing several other cars into the crash as well. The clean-up took a long time, and SCCA race officials later decided the race would restart with a 15-minute time limit.

Despite the delay, Tucker and his car were in tact. Tucker was driving the Level 5 Motorsports No. 55 Microsoft Office-sponsored Ferrari 430 Challenge, a car that he is comfortable in as a three-time national driving champion. Tucker maintained his first-place start right off the flag, but Buttermore in his Dodge Viper overtook Tucker on lap two. Tucker pulled ahead once again in turn five on the following lap, but Buttermore quickly inched ahead again in turn six. A lap later, Tucker made the same pass again on turn five, and after settling back into first place, he didn’t let the position go.

After the initial alternation between Tucker and Buttermore, Tucker kept the lead, with Buttermore’s reflection in the Ferrari’s rearviews the closest he came again to Tucker, the T1 National Champion from the year before, despite a last-ditch effort to pass Tucker again in the final lap. Tucker’s Hawk Performance T1 National Championship was his second consecutive victory at the Runoffs. He won by more than half a second and averaged approximately 93 mph. He also recorded the fastest lap of the race at 2:20.080, which works out to be nearly 103 mph.

“It was a good day,” Tucker said of the race. “Buttermore and I had some back-and-forth again, but I was able to find a good passing opportunity and close off his other attempts. Road America is a great track, a fast race, and I’m happy to have been a part of it again.”

The T1 race finished at 17 laps and 28 miles. Altogether, the three-day SCCA Runoffs comprised 604 competitors and crowned 27 National Champions. Tucker then entered the final stages of the 2010 driving season before opening the 2011 season, the most successful he and his Level 5 Motorsports team have seen yet.

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2011 gets even more exciting with Scott Tucker’s Level 5 Motorsports’ “Daytona Dream” season

Author: Murphy Bernstien  //  Category: Auto News

Fast cars, emotion, tension and hours of action: Except for mood music, that’s the makings of a feature film-to be fair, one that has already been made, but also one that could be just as successful if filmed again with the same cast.

That cast is Level 5 Motorsports, the team featured in “Daytona Dream,” the 2011 Drive Motion Pictures feature film that chronicled the emotional, action-packed journey of the Scott Tucker-owned team to the Grand-Am series Rolex 24 at Daytona, an institution in American culture far beyond racing circles.

However, this time, the movie would be about the same team’s 2011 season, one that has effectively exploded the success and publicity surrounding Level 5 Motorsports. In fact, “Daytona Dream” was shown as a webcast on the team’s website, Level5Motorsports.com, on Aug. 12 to commemorate the one-year anniversary of its debut.

Following its theatrical debut in summer 2010 and a successful run at film festivals, Discovery Communications acquired the rights to the project for domestic and international television broadcasts, a huge leap for not only the film and the team but for the endurance racing industry in the scope of the Discovery Channel’s viewership. The crazy thing is that the stats continually posted by endurance racing teams don’t merit their own mainstream cable channel or feature films all the time-emotion, drama, tension and action have all been at record highs for Level 5 Motorsports in 2011, and mood music has nothing to do with it.

The season began with the film-topic Grand-Am Daytona series. Level 5 entered the Rolex 24 at Daytona with a win-only mindset; but that optimism and determination was crushed when the Microsoft Office-sponsored No. 95 entry got caught in a stackup in the notoriously narrow lanes. The team drove impressively for the remainder of the race, but it ultimately finished 8th.

The anticipation surrounding Tucker’s seemingly impossible schedule would be a crowd pleaser; the 2006 rookie entered in not one or two but three series for the 2011 season. The second race of the season was the first of the ALMS and the team’s first in the LMP2 class, following the LMP championship Level 5 won in 2010. With a new LMP2 car, the team found themselves at the top of the podium, a huge win at their class debut in the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Just like any good story, the momentum built for Level 5 Motorsports as it went on to take second at the Long Beach, Calif. street circuit, and Tucker made podium at Infineon Raceway and Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in the Ferrari Challenge series. But then, trouble befell the team. When Tucker caught wind of a new Honda Performance Development/Wirth Research cost-capped prototype, he reserved the first two models. With the car still in development for much of the summer, Tucker and his team withdrew from a major ILMC competition, the Silverstone in England, because the car wasn’t ready. The risky decision cost the team an opportunity for points and a big showing at an ILMC event, and the team was sidelined through ALMS races at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut and MoSport in Ontario, Canada. Additionally for those races, the team had virtually no LMP2 competition, so they focused on the ILMC and ALMS championships ahead, specifically on making sure that the new HPD ARX-01g was ready to drive. The suspense built; would the car be worth the wait? Would it be enough to secure an LMP2 championship?

The Lola-Honda chassis made its race debut at the team’s return to the ALMS series with the ModSpace American Le Mans Series at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. The team finished fourth overall and first in points for the LMP2 class, which secured drivers’ championships for Tucker and co-driver Christophe Bouchut.

Endurance racing itself is by nature excellent material for a feature film. But add to the typical suspense, emotion and action Scott Tucker’s improbable schedule-and improbable career, for that matter-and you’ve got a story for the ages. The “Daytona Dream” season was impressive in and of itself, but the way Level 5 Motorsports has spent 2011 so far, and the excitement sure to follow with Petit Le Mans and Intercontinental Le Mans Cup in China still to come, prove how exciting endurance racing truly can get.

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Scott Tucker Earns Pole Position, Sets Qualifying Record in Quest for SCCA Championship

Author: Griffin Botley  //  Category: Auto News

Scott Tucker and Level 5 Motorsports plan on making history in this weekend’s SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America, as Tucker aims to become one of the very few drivers with three consecutive National Championship titles in one of the country’s most prestigious racing events.

Following his recent success at Laguna Seca where he clinched back-to-back American Le Mans Series championships following his fourth LMP2 victory of the season, Tucker shifts his focus to Friday’s championship race, which will see the accomplished road racer take the wheel of a specially prepared, Microsoft Office 2010-sponsored Porsche 996 Twin-Turbo.

“For me, personally, winning my third consecutive National Championship would be an incredible achievement that I have worked very hard for,” said Tucker, who notched his 59th career victory last weekend. “Winning any championship is extremely difficult. All you can do is prepare the best you know how and do you best on track and see where the chips fall at the checkered flag.”

The project began early this year when Level 5 bought the 500-plus horsepower, four-wheel drive Porsche. Led by Kelly Moss Motorsports’ Jeff Stone, both KMM and Level 5 teamed up to transform the unique Porsche into a SCCA STO class-winning contender. The car underwent an extensive development program, led by Stone, which included a series of test runs with Porsche factory driver Patrick Long.

With two previous National Championships in a Ferrari 430 Challenge car in the T1 category, Tucker competed in four early-season SCCA events at Sebring International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway with a modified 430 Challenge car for the STO class before the decision was made to go with with the radical 996 Twin-Turbo.

Led by project manager Ed Zabinski and engineered by veteran Jeff Braun, there’s high expectations for the Porsche 996 Twin-Turbo heading into Friday morning’s 13-lap or 40-minute race on the famed Road America circuit, one of the premier road racing venues in North America.

“We really tried to bring all of the best guys in the program,” said Zabinski, who is also the car’s entrant. “I’m pretty happy at the way it turned out. The Porsche has developed into a reliable car. I think we’re looking pretty good.”

Everyone on the team has high expectations, especially following Tucker’s impressive performance in qualifying on Wednesday. He recorded a best lap of 2:16.462, which stands as the overall quickest time among the STO field earning the pole position heading into Friday’ race at 8 30 am.

“We’ve been running in the top-three in all of the qualifying sessions this week. Scott loves the car,” Zabinski added. “I don’t know what the stats are, but there are only a few guys who have won three consecutive National Championships. We’ll certainly be going for that.”

The SCCA National Championship Runoffs, The Pinnacle of American Motorsports, will crown Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing National Champions for the 48th-consecutive year in 2011. The best drivers from across North America convene on Road America’s historic four-mile road course in what is considered the “Olympics” of motorsports. This year’s event begins with four days of qualifying, Sept. 19-22, and concludes with three days of racing, Sept. 23-25.

Follow all the racing action at the World’s Largest Motorsports News Source.. This article, Scott Tucker Earns Pole Position, Sets Qualifying Record in Quest for SCCA Championship is released under a creative commons attribution license.

Why Could It Be That We All Cannot Develop Fuel-Efficient Vehicles?

Author: Mavis S. Carbaugh  //  Category: Auto News

Around one third of new car purchasers in America considered fuel economy an important factor.. Due to the preoccupation today with air pollution, global warming and America’s dependence on foreign sources of oil, it’s actually shocking to learn that as long ago as 1992 a car that got 100 miles to the gallon was built by General Motors. There was also a car that looked a lot like the Geo Metro and weighed 1000 pounds, which boasted 75 miles per gallon gas mileage. Balanced growth of the vehicle, the engine which had 3 cylinders, was dropped because, in order to meet American safety standards, it had to be reinforced which added 200 pounds to its weight.

This is certainly not the only protype built by GM which ended up on the scrapheap. The GM Lean Machine of 1982, which could achieve 80 mpg, as well as the GM Ultralite which achieved a fabulous 100 mpg, were two of these vehicles. GM seemed to be presenting cars to the buying public in 1992 that did 20 mpg, while Honda was getting 50 mpg with their Civic VX, but right then GM already covertly had cars doing 100 miles per gallon. If perhaps cars which were capable of doing 100 miles per gallon had already been developed way back then, why is it that such cars are not being sold today?

It’s a peculiar phenomenon that some companies market traditional vehicles in the US, but sell different, more efficient cars in other countries. Buyers in Japan and Europe have for several years now had the opportunity to get cars that do 70 miles per gallon and more. A case in point of a car never offered within the US and capable of 78 mpg, is the Lupo by Volkswagen. A car referred to as Jazz elsewhere in the world was brought to the States in 2007 as the Fit. There are economy-boosting selections with the Jazz in Japan, like a smaller engine and other ways to reduce consumption, but not so with the Fit in the US.

In North America the manufacturers point out they have to build big cars because that is what the American public wants. Building a small commuter type vehicle doesn’t make the manfacturer big money, unlike with a large SUV. A Tank on Wheels will be the thing to get – that’s the message that the commercials beguile the American public with. Fuel-saving alternatives from the large companies are uncommon, so it’s pretty easy to deduce where their interests lay. In lieu of being associated with SUVs, GM today could have been known as a leader in fuel-economic vehicles. Several other manufacturers have also developed fuel-efficient cars, but they’ve all done the same as GM by not offering them to Americans.

In spite of global warming and the incredible pollution of the world environment, US car makers have yet to respond positively and at least give Americans the option of a fuel-efficient car. The question comes up: how many Americans could have welcomed the option of obtaining a car with good gas mileage but weren’t ever offered it? Possibly the time has come to restore building those cars that were developed only to be abandoned all those years ago.

Joseph M. Bolduc writes about vehicle along with Mother of the Bride Speech. To know more about Mother of the Bride Wedding Speech click here.

Franchitti Just the Latest Addition to Elite Motorsports Dream Team

Author: Andrew J. Vernon  //  Category: Auto News

Scott Tucker-owned Level 5 Motorsports announced the addition of Marino Franchitti to its driver lineup just in time for this weekend’s Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta. Franchitti will join Tucker and fellow driver Diaz in driving the No. 55 Microsoft Office-sponsored entry for the enduro, a 1,000-mile/10-hour race.

Franchitti is the latest addition to Tucker’s superteam of motorsports competitors, which has been established throughout the Level 5 Motorsports team’s three years of existence. Franchitti will be especially handy in driving the new Level 5 entry, a LMP2-class Honda Performance Development prototype developed in conjunction with Wirth Research. Prior to joining Level 5, Franchitti had raced essentially every iteration of HPD prototypes, including the original ARX-01a with Andretti Green Racing in 2007 and Highcroft’s 2010 ALMS championship winner ARX-01c as well as its ARX-01e, which took second place overall at the 12 Hours of Sebring earlier this year. Franchitti this year will be seeking his third consecutive Petit Le Mans class victory.

The elite Level 5 team began when Tucker entered the world of professional motorsports in 2006 at age 44. What he lacked in experience he made up for in raw talent, quickly ascending the motorsports rankings. Early on, he joined up with Christophe Bouchut, an endurance racing veteran, who acted as his mentor and co-driver. Bouchut is one of the most successful endurance drivers in the world and a past winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. He has also won three Porsche Carrera Cup France championships, three FIA GT titles and an FFSA GT championship. He is the only triple FIA GT champion in history. Since the Level 5 Motorsports team began in 2008, Bouchut has co-driven with Tucker and been integral in the team’s success. With his wealth of experience and skill in controlled speed, Bouchut’s role as lead driver has allowed Tucker to develop his own skills, adding to the depth of the Level 5 racing team. During the 2010 season, Bouchut earned his 100th career victory.

Another Level 5 Motorsport driver, Joao Barbosa, began his racing career in his native Porto, Portugal nearly 30 years ago. He won back-to-back kart championships in 1988-1989 and went on to win the Portuguese Formula Ford championship in 1994 and the Italian Formula Alfa Boxter Championship in 1995. In 2001, he joined the Grand-Am Sports Car Series and competed in the GT class until he joined the Brumos Racing team in a Daytona prototype in 2006. After four seasons there, he joined Action Express Racing and won the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2010. In 2010, he also made seven starts in the ALMS for Extreme Speed Motorsports in the GT2 class.

Luis Diaz, the third part to this weekend’s Petit Le Mans bid, hails from Mexico City, Mexico. Diaz ran in the Toyota Atlantic and Indy Lights Series from 1999-2003 before making the move to Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series in 2004 when he co-drove the No. 1 car with former Champ Car competitor Scott Pruett for Chip Ganassi Racing. In 2007, he moved into the ALMS, driving an LMP2 Lola B06/43-Acura for Fernandez Racing. The pairing finished sixth in the LMP2 standings that year and won the class championship in 2009. Diaz made his Level 5 debut this year at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a successful start to the season, and his LMP2 experience will be invaluable at Petit Le Mans with the new car.

Ryan Hunter-Reay has been off the grid for much of the 2011 season as Tucker and crew have been focused on the ALMS and LMP2 class, but he has been a major contributor to the Level 5 team’s overall success. He is a regular in the IZOD IndyCar Series for Andretti Autosport, where he nabbed his second victory at Iowa Speedway last year. Hunter-Reay helped the No. 95 Level 5 Motorsports BMW Riley to a third-place finish in the 2010 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

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New Challenges for Level 5 Motorsports’ Scott Tucker in October’s Petit Le Mans Aboard HPD’s New Sled

Author: Shelly Newman  //  Category: Auto News

The Level 5 Motorsports team’s 2011 season has proven it a versatile, dominant team stocked with talent, skill and determination. Commanding the podium at the majority of the races it entered-including winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and podium at Imola and Sebring, among others-is proof that the Scott Tucker-owned, Microsoft Office-sponsored team has found a winning formula in its schedule, race strategy and drivers, including Tucker, Luis Diaz and Christophe Bouchut. As they began the final quarter of an already unbelievable season with the ModSpace American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patron mid-September, all their ducks seemed to be in a row: their equation had been proven again and again as reliable for an effective winning effort. But this race contained one wild card, or wild car, as the case might be-the team would finally debut the HPD ARX-01g they had announced they were switching to mid-season. The Level 5 Motorsports team’s 2011 season has proven it a versatile, dominant team stocked with talent, skill and determination.

Scott Tucker expected the car to be a positive multiplier for their already winning equation, but as is the case in racing, they also knew always to expect the unexpected. The possibility and risk for another team to enter a brand new car so close to the season’s biggest races could throw off drivers and the team’s rhythm, but Level 5 Motorsports is made up of drivers who have experience not only adapting to car changes but in motorsports itself.

“Experience counts,” said Christophe Bouchut before the ModSpace race. “We’ve worked hard to prepare for this race, but it’s still brand new and there are still things to check.” The team opened the gearbox for inspection, sitting out of a final practice session to acquaint themselves with the new car as much as possible before its first run. Still, Bouchut was right: A car can be inspected over and over, and the race strategy can be cemented into the drivers’ minds, but there comes a point for drivers when lessons from previous race experience takes over with a sort of intuition and sensibility that can’t be taught.

Tucker is the least experienced driver on the Level 5 team, but what he lacks in years behind the wheel he makes up for with a brilliant learning curve that barely existed in the first place. A rookie in 2006 at age 44, Tucker displayed natural talent and surprising skill in the Ferrari Challenge Series before he created Level 5 Motorsports and began building a dream team of drivers. As the seasons progressed, Tucker began seeing his first major success. In 2009, he won the Sports Car Club of America National Championship. Later, he was the first American to drive one of Audi’s V-12 turbodiesels in a competition, during the 24 Hours of Le Mans. His passion for motorsports coupled with an unrelenting pursuit of excellence-which has caused him to maintain an ultra-disciplined fitness regimen as well as a grueling, three-series race schedule-have catapulted his short career into the territory of his counterparts, whose first races weren’t too long after their first birthdays.

Bouchut, part of the Level 5 dream team, is one of the most successful endurance drivers in the world. His victories have included the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. He has also won three Porsche Carrera Cup France championships, three FIA GT titles and a FFSA GT championship. He is the only triple FIA GT champion in history. Bouchut has been driving with Tucker’s Level 5 team since 2008, adding his experience to Tucker’s burgeoning motorsports empire and becoming an integral part of the team’s success.

Luis Diaz drove in the Toyota Atlantic and Indy Lights Series from 1999 to 2003 before moving to the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car series in 2004 when he co-drove the No. 01 car with former Champ Car competitor Scott Pruett for Chip Ganassi Racing. Three years later, Diaz moved again, this time into the American Le Mans Series, driving an LMP2 Lola B06/43-Acura for Fernandez Racing, and won the class championship in 2009. Diaz was also named Most Popular Driver that season. Diaz’s experience with Level 5 Motorsports is limited to only the 2011 season, but his familiarity with the LMP2 cars has undoubtedly been invaluable to the ever-changing team.

Tucker continues to run on a near-perfect combination of talent, passion, skill and experience. The cohesive mix of the drivers’ backgrounds has established the team as dominant frontrunners in multiple series and allowed the 2011 momentum to continue with the new HPD ARX-01g car.

Want to learn more about celebrity race car drivers? Check out the latest sportscar and GT racing news first!

Tucker takes advantage of six-hour format at Monterey

Author: Shelly Newman  //  Category: Auto News

For the second year in a row, the American Le Mans Series Monterey at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway on the Monterey Peninsula was a six-hour enduro race that led drivers around the circuit into the post-sundown darkness.

Previously, the race had been four hours, with the addition of two extra hours in 2010. For Scott Tucker and his Level 5 Motorsports racing team, the two extra hours allow for some breathing room. “We always try to run a clean race, but little mistakes can add up,” Tucker said last year. “Two extra hours can be a huge advantage even for experienced teams because of those unexpected things you tend to run into with endurance races.”

Believing Tucker and teammates Christophe Bouchut and Luis Diaz needed a 120-minute time allowance to overcome mistakes would have been easier in 2010, as it was Level 5 Motorsports’ debut year in the Le Mans series. Still, the David Stone-managed, Microsoft Office-sponsored team took the LMP class championship, and Tucker was rookie of the year.

In the 2011 season, driver mistakes have been few and far between for the Wisconsin-based team. Exploding into the season with numerous podium finishes, the Level 5 drivers seemingly faced only circumstantial setbacks. After making podium at the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Long Beach circuit and Imola in Italy, and achieving top LMP2 points and a fourth-place finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team had a record of majority clean races, with nary a scratch or a ding on their Nos. 55 and 95 entries.

However, the team has faced those little mistakes that tend to add up. At the first appearance of the season, at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the team-on track for the podium for the better part of the race-finished eighth after Tucker’s No. 95 got caught in a stack-up in the notoriously narrow track. Even with seamless subsequent performances by Bouchut and Diaz, who had just joined the team at the beginning of the year, Level 5 couldn’t make up for the error. In a 24-hour race, extra time isn’t an option, but the outcome of the Rolex 24 might have been different had each driver just had a bit more seat time.

“One of the benefits of a six-hour endurance race is the extra seat time in a racing environment,” Tucker said at the Monterey. “It maximizes the efficiency of the track time allowed for a driver.”

The team couldn’t fix the mistakes in time to make podium at Daytona, but they made quick work of perfecting their form and began their winning streak just after the disappointment at Daytona.

But at the Spa-Francorchamps race, a suspension failure sent Bouchut into the sideboards, and the team’s hopes of continuing its incredible streak with another ILMC top finish were dashed.

“It’s one of those things in racing,” Tucker said. “It’s pretty unfortunate-it’s a pretty rough spot on the track for that failure to happen.” The statement is reminiscent of what Tucker had said the previous year about little unexpected things that pop up in endurance races. Another unexpected development came in the summer for the Level 5 team, when a Honda Performance Development/Wirth Research partnership was producing a cost-capped LMP2 prototype. Tucker reserved the first two out of production, and the Level 5 team commenced waiting for the cars to be ready, ultimately pulling out of Lime Rock and Silverstone, partially because they didn’t face much competition and partially because they were preparing the new car for its ALMS debut.

Incidentally, the new car’s first ride was at the second six-hour Monterey at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. The team pulled off a stunning first performance in the HPD ARX-01g. Each of the drivers has undoubtedly improved since the first six-hour format in 2010, and certainly the newer, faster car was also a significant factor in the podium finish, but one has to wonder how it would have fared in a four-hour enduro. World-class motorsports competition is a field of strategy, with vehicle, driver order and track time all important factors to consider.

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Fleet Insurance; Origin Of The Word Fleet

Author: Timothy Simons Grimshaw  //  Category: auto insurance tips

Within the confines of an insurance organisation “Fleet Insurance” is a phrase thrown about all the time, with little or no thought about the origins of the expression. This type of insurance is simply a product, along with all our other products, and we are relied upon to find the best and most suitable policies for our clients. These can range from truck fleets, to van fleets, and car fleets to lorry fleets.

A book called ‘Our Language’ by Simeon Potter gave me a life-long interest in etymology, and this revelation occurred while I was keenly studying for my A Levels. I try to work out where words have come from after I’ve read them. You can gain a deeper understanding of the word itself if you learn the root of its origins. I understood previously that a ‘Fleet’ was a term for ‘more than one’, and related to the great fleets of ships that helped the empire.

I decided to look it up in a moment of weakness, thinking there must be more to the origins of the name than my limited knowledge. I found a website called Word-Origins, and according to that, the word ‘fleet’ is related back to the word -pleu-, meaning ‘flow, float’, and is a very old Indo European word. However, the German word fleutan (meaning ‘float, swim’) is where the actual word comes from, derived from the plue.

There is a lot more on the page, so if you are interested you ought to have a look. I was interested to see that Fleet Street has got nothing to do with ships, but relates to an inlet from the Thames, and that the word “fleeting” as in “fleeting glance” is all that’s left in our language from the old verb. In the 16th century it adopted a sense of transience.

So now you know what insurance brokers do to make their lives in the world of fleet insurance more interesting than simply finding the cheapest. We do loads of other insurances too, and I am going to look some of those words up when I get time.

Fleet insurance is available to households or businesses, to get more information, visit Coversure. They are a reputable independent broker who can secure you a grea deal on you fleet insurance.. Unique version for reprint here: Fleet Insurance; Origin Of The Word Fleet.