By Kaitlyn Tillman
When private equity investor-turned motorsports rising star Scott Tucker placed his order for the new Honda Performance Development/Wirth Research cost-capped prototype car, under “quantity,” it said 2. Tucker reserved the first two chassis for his Level 5 Motorsports team to use as soon as possible, which turned out to be last weekend in the HPD ARX-01g’s debut appearance, at ModSpace American Le Mans in Monterey, Calif. The race was yet another victory for the David Stone-managed, Microsoft Office-sponsored team of Tucker, Christophe Bouchut and Luis Diaz; the team has made a decisive sweep through the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup series and the American Le Mans Series, making podium at numerous races and winning at several others, including Imola.
Of course, not just luck brought two veteran drivers together with a rookie and made them win races. Each of the drivers specializes in a different area and comes from a different background, but they all share a profound passion for racing sports cars and a depth of knowledge and experience that lends itself to precise, controlled, balanced driving at maximum speed. They key to the team’s collective success is finding the right equation for driver order and race strategy—part of which involves Tucker reserving two of the Honda chassis prototypes.
Tucker and Bouchut, who was his driving coach at the time, decided to enter the Le Mans Prototype class after looking at the car in 2010. The make of the car was intriguing enough, but given the fact that the series would have Class A and Class B drivers race together at the championship, Tucker wanted in. Bouchut, one of the most successful endurance drivers in the world and an industry veteran, had been helping Tucker improve since his Grand-Am debut, and the two entered the LMPC program together full-time in 2010.
Another attractive element of the new prototype class was that a new IMSA rule allowed gentleman drivers in LMPC or GTC class to drive two cars, with the scoring driver in the higher-placed entry. That allowance spawned Level 5 Motorsports’ winning Nos. 55 and 95 cars, which carried the team through the next year to win the LMP championship, which bumped Level 5 into the LMP2 class, for which the HPD ARX-01g cars will take over starting last weekend.
The strategy involved with two cars worked for Level 5 Motorsports, with an exceptionally seasoned veteran in Christophe Bouchut and another coming at the start of 2011 in Luis Diaz. Tucker, who was a rookie at age 44 in 2006, got practice through the two-car strategy Level 5 uses, saving himself time and energy and improving the team’s infrastructure all the while.
Tucker had mostly kept out of the limelight, though he rapidly built a winning record after his racing debut. But Le Mans had always been one of his goals, and so when the time was right enough, he added high-profile racing veterans to his inner circle and set about leaving the Level 5 mark on every ALMS and ILMC track he could.
Kaitlyn Tillman has been keeping a close eye on Scott Tucker, owner and driver, of Level 5 Motorsports throughout the past year to keep you posted about the success of the dream team. To get more information about Tucker, check out http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703940904575395452654498336.html