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Scott Tucker and His Ways of Practice

Author: Sheryl Kuhn  //  Category: Auto News

Before, the Scott Tucker-owned racing team Level 5 Motorsports prepared for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a historic endurance race in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup series. Like any team, Level 5 geared to win. But oddly, the team opted out from the option to qualify for a beginning position in the race, rather taking the dead last place for its 2 Microsoft Office-sponsored LMP2 cars, Nos. 55 and 95.

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

It’s true; in a day-long event, starting placement isn’t the most crucial element. But declining to meet the criteria just isn’t to state that the practice involved with driving laps before a race isn’t vital for success in professional motorsports. Particularly, it’s the type of laps you drive.

The training sessions open to teams in the days before races are a essential time to become familiar with a new track and increase the efficiency of driver changes and pit stops. And, for Tucker and Level 5, training is an opportunity to have a feel for a different car, one factor the group has presented a great number of times in its lifetime.

Recently, the group unveiled its brand-new LMP2 cost-capped Honda chassis at the American Le Mans Series Monterey at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway on September. Seventeen. The mere hours of street time the vehicle experienced prior to race were worthy clues of how the automobile would perform in the race, another advantage of practice time.

But mostly, the Level 5 team continues to be in keeping with its mechanic’s word: Practice is nothing if it doesn’t make perfect. That’s a primary reason they runs two Le Mans Prototype entries in just about every race-when Tucker started Level 5 Motorsports in 2008, 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.

To get more information about Scott Tucker, check out Planet Le Mans Scott Tucker

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