Braselton, Ga. — An entire season’s worth of determination and teamwork comes down to the final race. Level 5 Motorsports team principal and driver Scott Tucker heads into the 16th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda on the cusp of rewriting the record books yet again. With its fourth consecutive American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón team’s championship already sewn up, all focus will be on Tucker in his quest for a historic 10th national driving championship.
With eight P2 class victories in nine races, it’s been a season to remember for Level 5. Tucker kicked off the 15th and final season of the ALMS with his fourth consecutive win at the 12 Hours of Sebring, followed by victories at Laguna Seca, Lime Rock Park, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Road America, Circuit of The Americas, and most recently Virginia International Raceway, which saw the Kansas City native regain the championship lead.
Armed with a six-point advantage over Extreme Speed Motorsports driver Scott Sharp, Tucker will need to win or finish second in the 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance race to claim his fourth straight ALMS driver’s title, no matter where Sharp ends up. With 25 career ALMS victories, a win in the final series race would put Tucker in the prestigious company of many world-renowned drivers.
“The pressure is on,” said Tucker. “The team’s championship was one of our goals at the start of the season, so we’re proud to have locked that one up at VIR. But now we’re gunning for the driver’s championship. We have to put on our best game. The ESM guys have been coming on strong and they’re a good team. But our level of preparation has been high all year and we’ve had the results to prove it. I’m looking forward to the fight.”
Tucker will again share driving duties of the No. 551 Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort-sponsored Honda Performance Development ARX-03b prototype with IZOD IndyCar Series star Ryan Briscoe and sportscar racing standout Marino Franchitti, the same lineup that claimed victory at Sebring. In an effort to help bolster the title chances, Guy Cosmo will be joined in the No. 552 car by Jonny Kane and Peter Dumbreck, marking the Level 5 debuts for the pair of U.K.-based drivers.
Kane, a two-time class winner in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and former Mercedes-Benz factory driver Dumbreck both have recent experience in HPD prototypes, a crucial factor in Level 5’s decision making process. Irishman Kane has spent the last four years with Strakka Racing, both in Honda-powered LMP1 and LMP2 cars, while Scottish-born Dumbreck took part in last year’s FIA World Endurance Championship in JRM Racing’s HPD ARX-03a.
“We’re excited to welcome both Jonny and Peter to Level 5 for Petit Le Mans,” said team manager David Stone. “They already have experience in HPDs, including Jonny, who won at Le Mans in a very similar car, so that will be beneficial. We needed drivers who were quick, but also tend to stay out of trouble and take good care of the cars. They both generally do that, so we felt that they are the best fit to help support support us for Road Atlanta.
“It’s clear our focus is on getting Scott the championship,” Stone continued. "We've worked out all of the scenarios and have gone through the possibilities. The odds are pretty good but it doesn't mean all that much. The first thing we need to do is finish 70 percent of the race in order to score points and be in the fight to the end. We have to stay out of trouble, stay on the lead lap and go from there.”
The 15th and final season of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón concludes with the Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda. The 1,000 mile/10-hour race, from Road Atlanta, is set for 11 a.m. EDT on Saturday, October 19, with live coverage on Fox Sports 2 and Fox Sports 1. Fox Sports 1 will broadcast highlights of the race on Sunday, October 20 at 4 p.m. EDT. Live web qualifying coverage will be available on http://www.alms.com on Friday October 18 at 11:30 a.m. EDT. Live timing and scoring will also be available on the series’ official website.