Johnson County, KS (PRWEB) November 22, 2012
Capturing two out of three championship events at the prestigious Sports Car Club of America’s National Championship Runoffs is downright impressive — especially when shattering a longstanding track record in the process.
American Le Mans Series star and Level 5 Motorsports owner/driver Scott Tucker did all this and more at the 49th annual SCCA Runoffs at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
After turning a qualifying lap that eclipsed a 56-year-old record for quickest lap in an SCCA event at Road America, Scott Tucker and his Level 5 Motorsports team backed up their historic run by taking top honors in Saturday’s D Sports Racer (DSR) class race.
Tucker, a native of Johnson County, Kansas, led from start to finish on the way to his second SCCA National Championship of the weekend and the fifth of his career. The victory was particularly gratifying when considering the competition Tucker faced and the preparation his Level 5 Motorsports team put into his specially developed West WX10/ST01a prototype racer.
Making his first DSR start at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn course, Tucker beat some of the finest competition and most sophisticated vehicles in the sports car racing world.
“All of those guys are engineering guys, they’re all car enthusiasts, they all have thought through this formula and this equation for many years,” said Level 5 Program Manager Ed Zabinski. “When it comes to the Sports Racer class in SCCA, we’re the new guys. For us to be able to come out and develop this car from a West WX10 and turn it into a WX10/ST01a is pretty amazing. We had some big brains working on this project.”
Level 5 began laying the groundwork for the project in January with extensive wind tunnel and on-track tests, and started building the car in March, before testing the car on track in June for the first time.
“I really owe it to the whole team. My job’s the easy part,” Tucker said after his DSR win. “We worked on this the whole year and had a couple of goals. One was to go under two minutes and the other obviously was to win the race.”
Tucker’s decisive, 34-second victory in the 13-lap championship-deciding race came on the heels of his record-setting lap of 1:58:997 recorded in Wednesday’s qualifying round.
Tucker’s chart-topping lap was the eighth-quickest ever recorded in any genre of racing at Road America, and the first sub-two minute lap ever recorded in an SCCA event at the historic course.
But Tucker and Level 5 were just heating up. On Thursday, Tucker, who contended in three classes at this year’s Runoffs, scored his first national championship of the week with a victory in the SCCA’s Super Touring Over class race.
Starting from the pole, Tucker built a 4.865-second in his No. 55 Hoosier Porsche 966 on the opening lap, and pulled away to a convincing 37.843-second margin of victory, averaging 102.781 mph.
Making the STO triumph extra meaningful was the fact that Level 5 Motorsports’ mechanics and logistical team went to extraordinary lengths to get the car back on track after an engine failure suffered during a Monday practice session broke the transmission case and ruined the driveshaft, front differential and all four axle shafts.
“I’ve never seen an engine so comprehensively destroyed – and the transmission went with it,” Zabinski said. “When the engine seized up, it was a four-wheel drive car on sticky tires, and those four tires kept trying to go around, and it was just trying to throw everything inside the gearbox into orbit.”
But, as great teams do under trying circumstances, the Level 5 Motorsports crew began thrashing away. The team worked all night to build one transmission out of three, and had the car up and running by the next on-track session.
Then, the team had to take the transmission back out and put another one in before the race — a race that ultimately had a happy ending.
“The entire Level 5 Motorsports team deserves credit for the STO victory,” Tucker said. “What an amazing effort on the part of everyone to get that car race-ready. I couldn’t be any prouder.”
Tucker qualified fifth for his third event of the week, Friday’s GT2 National Championship, but had a short day after another car slid into his No. 55 Porsche on the opening lap, knocking the alignment out the car and leading to an early retirement.