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.