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Only Racing Makes Perfect for Scott Tucker

Author: Jim Tobin  //  Category: Auto News

Earlier, the Scott Tucker-owned racing team Level 5 Motorsports prepared for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a historical endurance race in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup series. As with any team, Level 5 planned to win. Yet oddly, the group decided out from the option to qualify for a commencing position in the race, instead agreeing to the dead last place for its 2 Microsoft Office-sponsored LMP2 automobiles, Nos. 55 and 95.

“Qualifying for a 24-hour race is meaningless,” said a Level 5 mechanic at the time. “Anything that’s not directly related to winning, we’re going to opt out of.”

It’s accurate; in a day-long event, beginning placement isn’t the key element. However declining to meet the criteria isn’t to state that the practice associated with driving laps before a race isn’t necessary to success in professional motorsports. Particularly, it’s the type of laps you travel.

The training sessions available to teams in the days prior to races are a essential a chance to become familiar with a new track and increase the performance of driver changes and pit stops. And, for Tucker and Level 5, training is an chance to obtain a sense of a brand new vehicle, an issue they has experienced several times in its lifetime.

Most recently, the team unveiled its new LMP2 cost-capped Honda chassis at the American Le Mans Series Monterey at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway on Sept. 17. The mere hours of road time the car experienced before the race were valuable indicators of how the car would perform in the race, another benefit of practice time.

But usually, the Level 5 team keeps in keeping with its mechanic’s word: Practice is nothing if it doesn’t make perfect. That’s one good reason the group works a pair of Le Mans Prototype entries in just about every race-when Tucker started Level 5 Motorsports in ’08, he was only two years into his professional racing career, and he needed practice. But he also wasn’t willing to waste time completing meaningless laps around a track against no competitors.

“From the time and energy I spend practicing, it just makes more sense to enter two cars in the races,” Tucker said. “Not only that, but it’s actually beneficial to run two cars. When you’re out there practicing, you’re not racing against anybody. When you look at it logically, it’s much smarter from a time perspective and infrastructure perspective, not to mention that you get extra racing seat time.”

To Tucker, the most valuable practice experiences have been those in actual race situations. Although practice sessions have proven useful to the Level 5 team when it wants to survey a new car’s capabilities, the team typically treats each and every mile on the track as an opportunity for a world-class win. That strategy has worked for the team, who now enters the pinnacle of the 2011 season-with the SCCA Runoffs, Petit Le Mans and the 6 Hours of Zhuhai in China left to go-after two years of continuously increasing success.

Although Tucker was 44 when he took the wheel for his first professional race in 2006, his race-only mindset strategy has quickly made up the time he never had to build his career. His success has skyrocketed in just the past 5 years. The results can’t be ignored: He’s a three-time national champion; 2010 ALMS rookie of the year; two-time T1 division national champion, going for a third this weekend; three-time Ferrari Challenge Series champion; and holder of a record 10 wins in the FC series.

Entering his career, Tucker clearly had his accelerator to the floor. He quickly joined endurance veteran Christophe Bouchut, who acted as his mentor in addition to his driving partner. Tucker has always driven with the cream of the elite motorsports crop, a strategy that has allowed him some room to develop as a driver while still being making plenty of podium appearances. The winning mindset he has maintained since day one has helped him become an elite driver in only a handful of years. As Tucker’s team makes its LMP2 debut in the American Le Mans Series Petit Le Mans next weekend, it will compete against some of the fastest, most experienced drivers in the industry. For Level 5 Motorsports, it should be a good practice.

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