As Level 5 Motorsports prepares to return to France for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, we are taking an in-depth look at the preparation that goes into fielding a world-class entry into the World's Most Prestigious Endurance Race. This special release highlights the rich heritage that makes Le Mans one of the greatest sporting events in the world.
LE MANS, FRANCE — It’s the ultimate test of man and machine and a race that’s steeped in history. Nearly 300,000 spectators are in attendance and millions more watch at home. For more than 80 years, it’s driven technological innovation and has shaped the evolution of the automobile. Driving careers are defined here, but at the same time, can also be lost in the matter of a split second.
For some, it can take decades to conquer, while others will go an entire career without ever setting foot on the top step of the podium. The mystique and allure to the hallowed grounds in northwest France is what keeps more than 165 drivers and 56 teams from around the globe returning year after year, all with one common goal: victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ranked as the No. 1 sporting event in the world by National Geographic, Le Mans is the Mecca for motorsports enthusiasts. Held annually on the 8.459-mile Circuit de la Sarthe, comprised mostly of public roads that are closed for the around-the-clock event, Level 5 Motorsports enters the world-renowned race for the third consecutive year, seeking victory in the competitive LMP2 class.
The three-time and defending American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón champions head in with a star-studded lineup led by team principal Scott Tucker and co-drivers Marino Fanchitti and Ryan Briscoe, who will share driving duties in the team’s Honda Performance Development ARX-03b over the course of the grueling 24-hour endurance race.
Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, Le Mans has seen some of the greats of the sporting world compete, including American legends Mario Andretti, AJ Foyt and Hollywood star Paul Newman. The 1970 film “Le Mans” starring Steve McQueen, who also drove in numerous world-renowned endurance races, took the event to new levels and is still regarded today as one of the classic films of the era.
For Tucker, who has driven around the globe and for prestigious auto manufacturers such as Ferrari, Audi and Porsche, the Kansas City native, one of only a handful of American prototype drivers in this year’s race, realizes that no other event even comes close to the heritage of Le Mans.
"Le Mans is something special, undoubtedly one of the biggest sporting events in the world,” said Tucker, a nine-time national driving champion. “The race alone is obviously a big part but there’s so much more that goes into it. There’s an entire week of build-up, with interviews and the fanfare in the city centre. There’s a huge parade on Friday and by race day, there are close to 300,000 people here.
“Where else can you find that kind of excitement? You have people from all over the world attending and watching it on TV. It’s truly a global event and we’re privileged to be part of it again this year and representing the United States as one of the select American teams here.”
Preparations continue for Tucker and Level 5 this week, leading up to the start of practice and qualifying on Wednesday, followed by two final qualifying sessions on Thursday evening. The 90th anniversary 24 Hours of Le Mans gets underway Saturday, June 22. SPEED TV will carry live coverage of the race in the United States, with worldwide coverage also available on the official Le Mans Web site: www.24h-lemans.com.
24 Hours of Le Mans
June 22-23, 2013
Next ALMS Race:
American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix
July 5-6, 2013
3:00 p.m. ET July 6, 2013
2:45 p.m. ET July 6, 2013