Silverstone, England (Apr. 15, 2013) – 8Star Motorsports celebrated its first-ever podium finish in its FIA World Endurance Championship debut Sunday in England, as drivers Enzo Potolicchio, Philipp Peter and Rui Aguas overcame a series of setbacks to record a third place finish in a hard-fought season-opening 6 Hours of Silverstone.
The South Florida-based organization, in partnership with multi-time GT champions AF Corse, fought an electrical gremlin with its No. 81 Ferrari 458 Italia early in the running, which prevented its traction control system from functioning and dropping the Ferrari down the leader board. However, a decision to stay out on Michelin dry-weather tires during a sudden downpour early in the third hour elevated the GTE-Am car to second in class.
Despite having to replace its right-side door after contact with a prototype in the fourth hour, the 8Star Ferrari looked set for a stunning runner-up finish in the competitive category until a late-race bump from the third-placed Corvette, which resulted in a left-rear tire puncture with less than five minutes remaining. Forced to make an unscheduled stop, Aguas rejoined the race on the final lap and managed to bring the car to the checkered flag in third place.
“We’re happy with the result,” team principal Potolicchio said. “We finished on the podium after a somewhat difficult race for us. Philipp had a great start but he lost some time trying to figure out what was going on with the electronics. He figured out the problem but it meant we had no traction control. It hurt us a lot. Rui also had a difficult time when it started raining. We decided to stay out on slicks. That was the right call but it was easy for us to make the call from inside the pits. For him in the car, it was complicated.
“But in the end, we gained a lot of positions by staying on slicks. It really came down to great calls. The team did an amazing job with the pit stops. We had to change a door because we lost a mirror. In the end, it’s a good result. I’m really happy to have Rui and Philipp on the team. We just need to continue to work hard and give 100 percent again at Spa to continue our fight in the championship.”
The 8Star and AF Corse partnership will be looking to build on its strong start to the FIA WEC season next month in Belgium at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 2-4. However, 8Star’s U.S. operation will be back in action this weekend at Road Atlanta for the fourth round of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. The two-hour and 45-minute Rolex Series race takes the green flag Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET, with live coverage on SPEED.