With preparations in full swing for the upcoming season, Level 5 Motorsports received news Thursday of its entry confirmation for the 80th 24 Hours of Le Mans. Awarded by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, organizers of the legendary 24-hour French endurance race, Scott Tucker’s championship-winning team will take on the best of the world in a deep LMP2 field this June.
Five-time national driving champion Tucker will join team regular Christophe Bouchut in the No. 33 Honda Performance Development ARX-03b, only one of two Honda-powered LMP2 entries in this year’s race. The third driver for Level 5’s Le Mans program will be announced at a later date.
Level 5 earned an automatic invitation to Le Mans thanks to its victory in last year’s Petit Le Mans, where Tucker, Bouchut and Joao Barbosa scored an impressive sixth place overall finish in the American Le Mans Series season-finale. It capped off an incredible 2011 season, which saw a sweep of five victories and back-to-back ALMS titles.
“We’re very proud of our past accomplishments and championships,” said Tucker. “Getting an invitation to Le Mans is something we have worked very hard for and we’re honored and humbled at the same time in receiving it. We’re going to plan and work very efficiently to represent USA in the best possible light on the world’s stage and are proud for being one of the few American teams that competes in the highest level of sports car racing in the world.”
Tucker, who will be returning to Le Mans for the third consecutive year, will face a record level of competition in the LMP2 category. Eighteen entries have been entered, with Level 5 being only one of two
teams to fly the stars and stripes of America. Last year, Tucker finished on the podium in the team’s debut and was also the highest-placed American driver in the race.
While their third place result last year was achieved with a Lola-Honda Coupe, Level 5 will have a new HPD ARX-03b as its weapon of choice in 2012, as it aims for victory in the world’s greatest endurance race.
“We’re happy to be returning to Le Mans this year in what we believe will be a competitive package with the new HPD ARX-03b,” team manager David Stone said. “With the time we’ve had with these cars from last year, particularly the Petit Le Mans, and what we’ll have between now and the Le Mans Test Day and race, will only add to our likelihood of being very competitive and reliable. I’m happy to hear there is a large field in LMP2 and it should be a good fight.”
With the American Le Mans Series’ annual Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway less than one week away, work continues at Level 5’s Madison, Wis. headquarters to prepare its new HPD cars for the new year. The team took delivery of the first new ARX-03b chassis late last week, with one of the new 2012-specification LMP2 cars expected to be ready for action. One of last year’s race-winning HPDs will also be present for the two-day test on Feb. 8-9.
Both of Level 5’s new cost-capped LMP2 cars will compete in the 60th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 17, which will open the ALMS season and also serve as the start of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship. The 80th annual 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled for June 16-17, 2012.