Madison, Wisconsin (PRWEB) February 15, 2012
Level 5 Motorsports got its American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón title defense off to a flying start at Sebring International Raceway this week, as the team’s Honda Performance Development prototypes were quickest in official testing for next month’s 60th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida.
Making the worldwide debut of the new HPD ARX-03b, the Scott Tucker-owned organization showed impressive pace from the No. 055 car, which posted the quickest overall time on Wednesday and ended the two-day test on top in LMP2. Level 5’s No. 95 HPD, running to 2011 specification, also proved its strength by recording the second best time in class.
Tucker, a five-time national driving champion and native of Leawood, Kansas, along with season-long co-drivers Christophe Bouchut and Luis Diaz collectively completed a total of 364 laps, more than 1,300 miles in their HPD prototypes, which also ran for the first time on Dunlop tires.
“We’ve been real fortunate as the test went as planned,” said Tucker. “The new HPD ARX-03b performed just as we thought it would. Having driven both cars during the two days, I found it to be a big improvement over the old car. Ending the day 1-2 was very pleasing and gives us plenty of momentum heading into additional test sessions and the race itself next month.”
While Diaz turned a best time of 1:51.714 in the year-old No. 95 HPD, Bouchut’s 1:51.522 lap in the No. 055 car stood as the quickest of the week. Additionally, both cars were more than two seconds faster than last year's LMP2 pole time, showing considerable gains with the Level 5’s new, but already well-proven HPD package.
“I think it was a really great two days of testing here at Sebring,” team manager David Stone said. “We learned a lot with the new HPD ARX-03b chassis as well as running the Dunlop tires for the first time. The drivers that drove both cars could definitely see a positive difference in the new car, and everyone at Dunlop have been great to work with.
Level 5 will return to Sebring for further testing on Feb. 27-29, ahead of the 60th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida, where Tucker will be seeking his third straight victory in America's oldest endurance race. The American Le Mans Series season-opener, set for a 10:30 a.m. ET start on March 17, will also serve as the first race for the new FIA World Endurance Championship. It will be broadcast March 18 on ABC and shown live on ESPN3 or ALMS.com.