Madison, Wis. — After an impressive 1-2 finish at Circuit of The Americas in September, Level 5 Motorsports aims to take that momentum to Virginia International Raceway, in what could be a historic weekend for the Scott Tucker-owned organization. A win in Sunday’s Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR for either of Level 5’s Siemens/Alpina Watches/Ohiya Casino Resort-sponsored Honda Performance Development ARX-03b prototypes would result in the team clinching the P2 championship.
With 8 races gone by and 7 victories to show for it, it’s certainly been a memorable year for Level 5. Tucker, a nine-time national driving champion, kicked off the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón season with his fourth consecutive win at the 12 Hours of Sebring, followed by victories at Laguna Seca, Lime Rock, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Road America, and most recently, COTA. While a start-line accident took the Kansas City native out of action at Baltimore, teammates Marino Franchitti and Guy Cosmo kept Level 5’s win streak alive by taking victory in the accident-filled race.
Heading to the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course, home to some of the first-ever permanent circuit road races in America, Level 5 will be looking to make some history of its own with its fourth consecutive ALMS championship. Currently with a 22-point lead over its competition, the Madison, Wis.-based team will clinch the P2 title if they leave Virginia with a 24-point or more advantage. That means a win on Sunday, no matter where the Extreme Speed Motorsports team finishes, would hand the title to Level 5 one race early.
“It’s been a good season for us, but it’s been a challenge as well,” said Tucker, who recently earned his 97th career victory. “The ESM guys have been strong competitors and we’ve had to step up our game. COTA was a great comeback race after the incident at Baltimore, which was out of our control. We won at VIR last year and I think we should be in a good position again this weekend. The team has been doing an incredible job preparing, as usual. We just have to head in with our heads held high and aim for the best.”
After securing his sixth victory of the season, Tucker has jumped to third in the P2 drivers’ championship, behind Level 5 teammates Franchitti and Cosmo. Ryan Briscoe, who was forced to sit out two races due to a wrist injury, is 5th in the standings and fresh off the big win in Texas with Tucker. Despite being on the brink of another championship, the focus remains the same for the entire Level 5 team.
“It was great to come away from COTA and be back in position,” said Level 5 team manager David Stone. “But in racing, any little thing can can happen and change the outcome of your race. It’s important we first get to 70 percent race distance to score points, because if you don’t, the championship could turn upside down. Our hope is to run hard, be competitive and stay out of trouble, like usual. We have some good data to go by from last year but know that we have to stay on the top of our game and perform to the Level 5 way.”
The Oak Tree Grand Prix from Virginia International Raceway is set for 2 p.m. EDT on Saturday October 5, with live coverage on ESPN3. ESPN2 will broadcast the race on Sunday, October 6 at 5:30 p.m. EDT. ESPN3 will also show live qualifying on Friday, October 4 at 3:35 p.m. EDT. Live timing and scoring will be available at http://www.alms.com.