Level 5 Motorsports to run 2 LMP2 cars in 2011

© Level 5 Motorsports

Level 5 Motorsports owner / driver Scott Tucker announced today (December 10) that his American Le Mans Series LMPC Championship-winning team will field two Honda-powered Lola entries in the series’ LMP2 division for the 2011 season. The move comes after a record-setting season for Level 5 as the team won five events en route to the overall LMPC title and Tucker being named Rookie of the Year.

“We took our time to evaluate who the best partners would be,” Tucker said. “Both Lola and Honda are very strong professional motorsports organizations that have proven winning traditions and goals that align very well with ours for the 2011 season.”

Tucker makes the leap to LMP2 after a remarkable 2010 season in which he competed in four major sports car racing series, won two national titles and 10 races, set numerous track records, became a test driver for Ferrari and was the subject of a documentary film.

“We had an ambitious plan for 2010 and I was very pleased with how things turned out,” he said. “But we’re not going to slow down now. We’ve got just as much ambition for 2011.”

Returning as Tucker’s Level 5 Motorsports teammate in 2011 is Frenchman Christophe Bouchut. Last season, Bouchut teamed with Tucker in the ALMS LMP Challenge class and finished fourth in the standings. Bouchut is one of the most successful endurance drivers in the world. He has won the Rolex 24 At Daytona (1995), the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1993) and the 24 Hours of Spa (2001 and 2002. Bouchut is also the only triple FIA GT champion in history.

“I’m excited once again to be driving for Level 5 Motorsports and Scott Tucker,” Bouchut said. “We enjoyed a great deal of success in our first season in the American Le Mans Series last year. We’ve really come together as a team and I expect more good things in 2011.”

A new addition to the Level 5 Motorsports lineup this season is Luis Diaz of Mexico. A veteran of the American Le Mans Series since 2007, Diaz won the LMP2 championship in 2009 with a whopping eight victories.

In 2010, Diaz scored four podium finishes in the GTC class and three pole positions and three podium finishes in the LMPC class. Diaz is also a former team champion in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16, having won five Daytona Prototype races and scoring eight podium finishes in 2006.

“It’s an honor to join Scott Tucker and his Level 5 Motorsports organization,” Diaz said. “They have proven they are a championship team. With my experience in ALMS, I hope I can help Scott and the team win a championship in another class this season.”

Tucker is looking forward to racing again with an old friend and a new teammate.

“Christophe’s credentials speak for themselves,” Tucker said. “He is a big part of the success we have had over the past few years. I have raced against Luis and he is a great driver. It will be great to race with him instead of against him.”

As the premier sports car racing league in North America, the American Le Mans Series has a rich history of prototype racing. The addition of the Level 5 Motorsports LMP2s adds to an already impressive field taking shape for 2011.

“Scott Tucker, (team manager) David Stone and the entire Level 5 team established their credentials as a top-level professional prototype race team with their LMPC championship run this season,” said Scott Atherton, President and CEO, American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. “The announcement today of a two-car LMP2 program for 2011 is great news for the ALMS and our fans.”

With more than 50 years of history building championship winning race cars in Formula One, CART / IndyCar, USAC, and IMSA. The list of champions who have taken Lola machines to victory is a Who’s Who of international motorsports.

“We are delighted to welcome Level 5 Motorsports to our expanding portfolio of LMP customers for 2011,” said Lola owner and Executive Chairman Martin Birrane. “After an excellent first year in ALMS this year, they have proved they are a very professionally run team and I am sure they will be in the hunt for more honors next season.”

Lola earned podium finishes in nine events last season in the ALMS, including overall victories at Road America and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Paired with a Honda power plant, the Lola B11/40 promises to be a force next season.

Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), the Honda racing company within North America, provides technical support for high-performance racing programs. HPD is the single engine supplier to the IndyCar Series and provides engines for prototype sportscar racing in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and European Le Mans Series (LMS). Honda earned a win in their inaugural attempt at the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as the LMP1 and LMP2 Championship in ALMS in 2009 and the ALMS LMP Championship in 2010.

“Honda Performance Development is very pleased to have been selected by championship-winning Level 5 Motorsports as its 2011 ALMS engine partner, as the team moves up from the Le Mans Challenge class to the LMP2 class,” said Steve Eriksen, Assistant Vice President of Honda Performance Development. “We look forward to working closely with the team to develop a well-integrated, competitive, and reliable package that will allow Level 5 Motorsports to continue to excel in the sports-car arena.”

Back on board for 2011 will be Microsoft Office 2010 as primary sponsor of the Level 5 entries. Since the opening round of the 2010 ALMS campaign, Microsoft Office 2010 has been enjoying their one-of-a-kind relationship with one of racing’s most prolific and successful teams.

“Certainly we were attracted to this sponsorship for the traditional reasons: great exposure for our products. But, we also saw that we could do something rather unique with this opportunity,” said Chris Barry, Director in Microsoft Office. “We wanted to show how Office 2010 could help even the highly technical, fast-paced business of racing be more productive.”

The 2011 American Le Mans Series gets underway with the Winter Test, Feb. 8-10, 2011, at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. The first race of the year will be the famed 12 Hours of Sebring, March 16-19. Television details have not yet been announced.

21 Comments on Level 5 Motorsports to run 2 LMP2 cars in 2011

  1. Principally good project for 2011 – I only hope that Scott Tucker will not drive both cars again for an easy championship-win. If so, I wish him a lot of double DNF’s in 2011 so that someone else will win the championship.

  2. Go Scott Tucker and Level 5!!! DOMINATE THE CHAMPIONSHIP AGAIN!!! i dont care if he runs both cars in fact i like it!!! go LEVEL 5!!!! destroy the compitition!!!! LMP-2 class is going to be amazing…. but still dominated by Level 5!!!

  3. Apparently he’s driving both cars since only Luiz Diaz is named in the second car.

    This is completely ridiculous from the ALMS part to allow this to happen beyond the LMPC ranks. LMP2 is an official lemans category. This messes with the integrity of the series. Leave it to Grand Am to pull such pranks, not the leading sports car series in the world.

    Gunnar Jeanette was the real title winner in LMPC. Hopefully someone has the courage to challenge these proceeedings.

  4. So the ALMS gains 2 entries at the cost of a good dose of integrity??? No thank you. This can discourage prospective entrants from the category. It’s plain and simple legalized cheating.

    And for the connoisseur fans who have been long time followers of the series, it’s a slap in the face.

  5. well Bamba, if you feel that strongly about it, dont watch ALMS anymore. simple as that. no one is forcing you to. and obviously ALMS isnt going to listen to you, nor should they, as this is a perfectly legal and cool tactic that i find very interesting. i love it. so i guess either stop complaining about something you cant fix or stop watching ALMS cause it isnt gonna stop! if ALMS stops this than that will end all ties to reality for Le Mans style racing and lose at least 50% of the fans, and ALMS knows that, which is why the they dont stop this, nor should they!

    and by the way, you can consider this a “prank” that should be played by Grand Am, but ALMS uses it more than Grand Am, as GA doesnt allow the driver to score points in both cars, only drive

    and if you don’t like this, than you obviously arent a true race fan, as back in the early Le Man days and Alms days i know of many times where drivers would be in up to 4 cars at any race! I remember when Boris Said ran in 3 BMW’s and 1 mustang in the same 24hours of Daytona before the “split” !!!

  6. The name of the game is endurance and reliability. If you can’t come ahead in your car and you need a second car you’re just not as reliable as the guy who does it in one car.

    And the guy who does it in one car is better than you.

  7. Tucker can only score points in one car and he has to declare what car that is before the weekend starts, so what is the big deal, just like everyone else, there is no advantage to Tucker in the championship having 2 cars anymore than any other 2 car team.

  8. Wrong!!! he takes the points of the highest finishing car at the END of the race. Make sure you watch the races before commenting guys.

  9. Well goodluck to him too… Me personally, I dont like the idea that he can drive both cars. But its his team, and the ALMS is a rich mans sport. So yeah…

  10. Is LMP2 going to happen in 2011 in the ALMS, or is it just going to be LMP again? This announcement is great for the ALMS as prototype entries have been poor recently and there aren’t many entries committed for 2011.

    I’m a little surprised and disappointed that they didn’t go for the drop dead gorgeous coupe, but thats their call and I’m sure they have their reasons… Also, if Tucker is allowed to score with two cars, he will probably win the championship and dilute the brand heavily. I have no problem with a gentleman driver, I do have a problem with a top line series pandering to him to allow him to win.

  11. Bamba, you should try to stay current – for 2011 Tucker will have to declare, prior to first official practice, which car he will claim points from.

  12. Well, the open top lola coupes are the low-cost options for 2011 and beyond, even riley technologies and oreca are coming up with their own versions. Those coupes don’t have the fancy aerodynamics of the real LMP2 cars but given that they are to be fitted only with production engines, they will have a generous intake restrictor. The price of the engines are capped and so is the price of the chassis al the various manufacturers have agreed to the price caps. So it’s easier for a team to budget for a season

    The fin is to compensate for their lack of aero sophistication and keep the car stable at speed.

    So its up to the teams to figure out which route to go, the real LMP2 coupe with a full bred race engine or the low cost option.

  13. @ Bamba

    “While drivers will also be allowed to drive in multiple classes, the big change from 2010 comes in that the team must nominate which car the driver scores points in prior to first official practice. Previously, the driver was awarded points in the highest-placed car he was in, given the minimum distance requirements were achieved.”
    Source: Speedtv.com

  14. @Bamba

    The fins will actually reduce the straight line stability of the cars at speed and make them more susceptible to yaw and cross winds. The fins’ actual purpose it to prevent blow-overs (as witnessed in 2008) in steep angles of yaw. It was Porsche’s idea, I believe.

    Also, all LMP2 cars will have a production based engine next year, irrelevant of whether they’re open cars or coupés. It’s more cost effective from the race car manufacturer’s point-of-view to create an open car for the cost-cap thrust upon them, though. For this reason, the manufacturers of the LMP2 coupés we have seen so far (from Lola and Riley) have accepted that they will lose money on them in the short term but Lola have managed to produce an open LMP2 car that does meet the cost cap. It’s silly that the ACO has decided how much money the manufacturer’s are allowed to make when selling these cars but it will stop another RS Spyder situation.

    As usual, the open cars will get a larger restrictor than their closed equivalents, for performance balancing.

  15. Thanks for clarifying the fin concept. Yet I’m pretty sure it was agreed that current engines and chassis, will be accepted in all classes for the first year with some performance balancing to help teams make the transition. Just so to give them time to adjust.

  16. Level 5 has 2 riley daytona prototype chassis, 2 formula lemans cars ( only used for a year) and now 2 lmp2 lolas. Not to mention scott tucker surrounds himself with coveted drivers of strong caliber.

    Hopefully tucker and his accountants have done the math right with their dollars. I remember tafel was running 2 gt3 cup cars in grand am and 2 gt3 RSRs in the alms in 2007. In 2008 they bought 2 430GTs for the alms and splurged on all the ferrari updates for the lead car. That was 6 cars in 2 years. It was sad to see them gone. I don’t wish see a top team end up that way.

  17. Its a rich man sport…

    I believe he stared racing in 2006. And now look where he is at with his racing program.

  18. Still, Jim Tafel was also rich. Pescarolo is also rich. Pretty much all team owners in any major US series are rich, but there comes a crossroads when you have to balance losses and earnings.

    I wonder how much it cost him to have Marco Werner do Petit LeMans. And check out his 2 car line-up for the 2010 Daytona 24hrs. That was easily well over 350 grand in drivers fees just for the weekend. Not counting any other personnel.

  19. Well to be honest, I really dont know a drivers salary in the Sports Car Racing world. I get a pretty good idea for F1, and a Nascar drivers salary.

    Also I would guess if your on a factory team. You would earn more. Also I guess a lil extra if you win a championship or an major race.

    I love Sports Car Racing so much, sadly I really don have an idea how much the average driver gets paid. I know it varies, from what series, factory team, how popular that racing searies is, etc…

  20. Grandfathering of existing cars is allowed for next year (essentially, fitting a minute restrictor) but I believe that even then there is a requirement to retro-fit a fin and in LMP2, a 2011 stock-block engine. The grandfathering concept is also only open to those with who currently own cars, like the Drayson Racings of this world. However, expect the fully 2011 compliant cars to be faster than grandfathered ones. However, I suspect the ALMS will be more lenient with the level of grandfathering than the ACO, the ALMS can’t really afford to regulate out any prototypes at the moment anyway…

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