Fast cars, emotion, tension and hours of motion: Except mood music, that’s the makings of a feature film-to be fair, one that had been made, and also one that might be just as successful if filmed again with the exact same cast.
That cast is Level 5 Motorsports, the team featured in “Daytona Dream,” the 2011 Drive Videos feature film that chronicled the emotional, action-packed journey of the Scott Tucker-owned team to the Grand-Am series Rolex 24 at Daytona, an institution in American culture beyond racing circles.
However, this time, the film will be comparable team’s 2011 season, one that has effectively exploded the success and publicity surrounding Level 5 Motorsports. Actually, “Daytona Dream” was shown as a webcast on the team’s website, Level5Motorsports.com, on Aug. 12 to commemorate the one-year anniversary of its debut.
Following its theatrical debut in summer 2010 and a successful run at film festivals, Discovery Communications acquired the rights to the project for domestic and international television broadcasts, a giant leap for not merely the film and the team but for the endurance racing industry in the scope of the Discovery Channel’s viewership. The crazy thing is that the stats continually posted by endurance racing teams don’t merit their own mainstream cable channel or films all the time-emotion, drama, tension and action have been at record highs for Level 5 Motorsports in 2011, and mood music has nothing to do with it.
a major began with the film-topic Grand-Am Daytona series. Level 5 entered the Rolex 24 at Daytona with a win-only mindset; but that optimism and determination was crushed when the Microsoft Office-sponsored No. 95 entry got caught in a stackup in the notoriously narrow lanes. The team drove impressively through out the race, but it ultimately finished Eighth.
The anticipation surrounding Tucker’s seemingly impossible schedule would be a crowd pleaser; the 2006 rookie entered in not one or two but three series for the 2011 season. The other race of the season was the initial of the ALMS and the team’s first in the LMP2 class, following the LMP championship Level 5 won last year. With a new LMP2 car, the team found themselves at the top of the podium, a huge win at their class debut in the 12 Hours of Sebring.
As with every great story, the momentum built for Level 5 Motorsports as it went on to take second at the Long Beach, Calif. street circuit, and Tucker made podium at Infineon Raceway and Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in the Ferrari Challenge series. However, problems befell the team. When Tucker caught wind of a new Honda Performance Development/Wirth Research cost-capped prototype, he reserved the first two models. With the car still in development for much of the summer, Tucker together with his team withdrew from a major ILMC competition, the Silverstone in England, because the car wasn’t ready. The risky decision cost the team an opportunity for points and a big showing at an ILMC event, and the team was sidelined through ALMS races at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut and MoSport in Ontario, Canada. Additionally for those races, the team had virtually no LMP2 competition, so they centered on the ILMC and ALMS championships ahead, specifically on making sure that the new HPD ARX-01g was ready to drive. The suspense built; would the car be well worth the wait? Will it be enough to secure an LMP2 championship?
The Lola-Honda chassis made its race debut at the team’s return to the ALMS series with the ModSpace American Le Mans Series at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. The team finished fourth overall and first in points for the LMP2 class, which secured drivers’ championships for Tucker and co-driver Christophe Bouchut.
Endurance racing itself is by nature excellent material just about any feature film. But add to the typical suspense, emotion and action Scott Tucker’s improbable schedule-and improbable career, for that matter-and you’ve got a story for the ages. The “Daytona Dream” season was impressive in and of itself, but the way Level 5 Motorsports has spent 2011 so far, and the excitement sure to follow with Petit Le Mans and Intercontinental Le Mans Cup in China still to come, prove how exciting endurance racing truly can get.
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