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Rough weekend to start the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda season for Potolicchio

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Pompano Beach, FL, March 20, 2015- After a promising third place qualifying, Christian Potolicchio was unable to achieve his first career win at Sebring International Raceway for the season opener of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda.

As the top-returning driver into the 2015 season, Christian Potolicchio entered the 2015 Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda with a high benchmark and equally high aspirations. After finishing third in the 2014 Championship, the young Venezuelan driver is within his own right to set his goal for the year – win the championship. Christian’s father and experienced sports car driver, Enzo Potolicchio has been the foundation for his success, “We are working very closely with Christian to be one of the fastest out there this year.”

In race one, Christian started with great pace jumping up to second place and quickly pursuing Koch for the top spot. Potolicchio was involved in a great battle for second place when an unfortunate crash in turn 17 ended his hopes for the podium.

In race two, Potolicchio encountered another great opportunity by starting fourth on the grid. Unfortunately for Christian, the car had some complications due to the first crash and didn’t cooperate with his aspirations. A quick exit in turn 1 ended his hopes for a podium finish in the second race.

“I had high hopes coming into this race, but unfortunately a crash in the first race ended our podium hopes for the weekend here at Sebring,” said Christian Potolicchio. “Now we have to concentrate and work hard on the next race at NOLA Motorsports Park which will be a new track for me.”

The industry leading 8Star Motorsports team has designed and developed a multi-step competitive ladder to aid prospective endurance racers make valuable progress in their careers. Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda provides these young drivers with the opportunity to showcase their potential in entry-level high-downforce machinery before stepping up to the headlining TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

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8Star Motorsports gearing up Scott Hargrove for Indy Lights Season Opener

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Pompano Beach, FL, March 20, 2015 – We are pleased to announce the partnership between 8Star and 2014 Rookie of the Year and IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Canada series champion Scott Hargrove for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season opening races at the Firestone St. Petersburg Grand Prix March 28-29, 2015.

Indy Lights, the third and final step on the Mazda Road to Indy, will boast a modernized display this year, with a fresh and different face than fans and drivers have been used to. Scott Hargrove will be driving 8Star’s #8 Dallara IL-15 open-wheeler, which will be replacing the former spec chassis.

“This partnership with BC Pit Crew and 8Star Motorsports is a very exciting opportunity that I can not wait to make the most of,” said Canadian born Hargrove. “It has been great to work with the team and the new Dallara IL-1. Our pace is very promising and we have no other intentions but to run up front and go for the win. The St. Petersburg Grand Prix is one of my favorite races of the year, the atmosphere is great and the track is a blast to drive. The Indy Lights series looks to be on a real high and I hope to be in the car for the remainder of the season.”

“We are very happy to confirm Scott Hargrove for the Indy Lights 2015 season opener at St. Pete. Without underestimating the level of talent in this new Indy lights, we have developed the car very well and have tested for a competitive time so far. Scott (Hargrove) has been a pleasure to work with and we are eager to get out there soon,” stated team manager Gary Neal.

This is a new territory so far and Team owner Enzo Potolicchio has high praise for the young Canadian driver stating: “We don’t expect St. Pete’s to be easy but we are confident in this partnership and excited about the state-of-the-art Indy Lights cars this year. Scott (Hargrove) has proven to be the real deal winning 2014 Rookie of the Year and series runner-up in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires Championship. We have a strong belief that he is ready to take on this new challenge and hopefully we can have him for the rest season.”

Fans are invited to follow the action in St. Petersburg via a multitude of platforms: live on INDYCAR.com, indycarradio.com, the INDYCAR app from Verizon, as well as IMS Radio Network on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. There will also be a delayed broadcast on television through NBC Sports in the United States and SportsNet in Canada.

For more information please visit our website at www.8starmotorsports.com and keep up to date via Twitter @8starmotor and Facebook at our 8Star Motorsports page.

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Scott Hargrove tops the charts in official Indy Lights Practices at PBIR

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Pompano Beach, Fla. (January 14, 2015) – Scott Hargrove and 8Star Motorsports among the fastest throughout the two official Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Practice days at Palm Beach International Raceway. (January 13-14).

Young driver Scott Hargrove was at the top of the charts throughout the two official Indy Lights test days on-board of the #8 8Star Motorsports debuting Indy Lights. Canadian-born Hargrove dominated most of the sessions, improving each and every session and finishing on top on two of the three free practices.

Hargrove posted a time of 1m06.860s which put him in first in practice day one’s session two, improving from a 1m09.253s which he posted in session one. Practice day two came which much improvement for the Canadian driver, as he lead the way with a 1m05.504s best time only topped by Kyle Kaiser in the No. 18 Indy Lights.

“I feel right at home within the team and it showed on the track today. Every change we’ve made is in the right direction, improving the car alongside our engineer. Topping the timing sheets is a nice bonus and I’m very confident we can continue the trend as we continue to work on this new Indy Lights car,” said Hargrove after topping the charts at PBIR.

“This was our second test working with the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship runner-up Scott Hargrove, and he continues to impress with his very quality feedback on the car and the Cooper Tires,” said team Manager Gary Neal. “Overall we are very impressed with the new Dallara IL-15 as it is a very well designed car with many options for the driver and the engineer to manipulate and optimise performance. We are confident that we can be a title contender, however the competition is tight and it will only get more intense as the season starts.”

“We are incredibily satisfied with the two days of practice, as our engineer was able to accomplish his test plan and we were able to collect the data necessary to continue to develop our Dallara IL-15 Indy Lights. Scott (Hargrove) adapted really well to the car and was able to work closely with the team, we are really impressed with his performance,” said team owner Enzo Potolicchio. “8Star is a recognized team in the world of Endurance racing that has many years of Indy Car and Formula 1 experience, and our expectation is to accomplish great results in our first Indy Lights season.”

For more information on 8Star Motorsports and its racing activities, please visit the official www.8starmotorsport.com website, ‘like’ the team’s Facebook page or follow @8starmotor on Twitter.

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Canada’s Scott Hargrove first to test 8Star Motorsports Indy Lights racer

Scott_HargroveScott Hargrove will be one of the first to be assessed for a drive with 8Star Motorsports in the 2015 Indy Lights Series Presented by Cooper Tires in an official test at Palm Beach International Raceway, Florida on Wednesday (17 December).

Canada’s Hargrove drove a Kart for the first time when he was 13 years old, planting the seed that would lead him to high profile successes in the US and overseas.

As a recipient of the 2013 Team Canada Scholarship, the young charger proudly represented his home nation in the prestigious Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch in the United Kingdom and acquitted himself well by finishing fourth in a super-competitive field consisting of 57 of the world’s brightest young racers.

The Canadian followed his 2013 Cooper Tires USF2000 Series championship success – he maintained his points lead for the entirety of the 14-race season by capturing four wins, nine podiums, five fastest race laps and six pole positions – by winning the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada (Platinum Cup) and finishing second in the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship.

Wanting to become British Columbia’s next IZOD IndyCar driver, Hargrove will be one of the first candidates to be assessed for one of 8Star Motorsports’ Indy Lights seats during an official test at Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter, Florida on Wednesday (17 December).

An ever-strengthening 2015 Indy Lights field is forming, as several teams and drivers have already announced their intention to enter the revamped single-seater series in the New Year.

In an expansion of its newly-established young driver Academy, 8Star Motorsports has committed to a two-car attack on the modernized, fresh-faced Indy Lights Series and is open to testing other prospective IndyCar drivers.

The third and final step on the Mazda Road to Indy, the highly acclaimed championship has a rich history as a development platform for many of today’s top drivers, particularly as the series Champion is awarded a three-race scholarship in the Verizon IndyCar Series, including the headlining Indianapolis 500.

The INDYCAR-sanctioned championship therefore ties in with 8Star Motorsports’ ongoing commitment to nurturing young talent through its flourishing ‘8Star Academy’ program.

While Brazilian Ozz Negri will be 8Star’s official Indy Lights development driver, Hargrove will be the first to have his mettle tested, with the view of potentially filling one of the Florida-based team’s two race seats in 2015.

“To be one of the first drivers to test the new Indy Lights car is exciting and doing it with 8Star Motorsports is going to be a lot of fun,” said Hargrove. “The team has its roots in sportscar racing but a lot of its personnel are very experienced with open-wheelers, so it’s going to be fun to branch out and see what the team can do with the new Dallara IL-15. I’m really looking forward to 2015 and we’ll see where the test takes us.”

For more information on 8Star Motorsports and its racing activities, please visit thewww.8starmotorsports.com website, ‘like’ the team’s Facebook page or follow@8starmotor on Twitter.

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8Star claims victory in inaugural Classic 24 Hour at Daytona

8Star-HSR-ClassicDaytona3crop8Star Motorsports and Enzo Potolicchio stood atop the winners’ rostrum at Daytona International Speedway after storming to class victory in the inaugural Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) Classic 24 Hour at Daytona (16 November).

The 24 Hours of Daytona has grown in stature since its inception in 1966 and is now a premier fixture on the international motorsport calendar, widely regarded as part of the informal ‘Triple Crown of Endurance Racing’ that encompasses three of the world’s most formidable races, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring.

The inaugural Classic 24 Hour at Daytona celebrates a rich and illustrious history spanning almost half a century. Cars from the Historic Sportscar Racing and Trans Am Series resplendently return to Daytona International Speedway, the many functioning museum pieces from 1961 to the present day conveying the 24 Hours of Daytona’s story as they compete on the world-renowned circuit from 13.00 on Saturday (15 November) through to 13.00 on Sunday (16 November).

Over 130 cars spread over six era-defined classes took to the legendary 3.56mile circuit, which combines a large part of the renowned NASCAR tri-oval with a fast, sweeping infield road course.

8Star Motorsports entered the Class E battle with a sole 2013 Coyote Corvette Daytona Prototype for Enzo Potolicchio and, while the inaugural Classic 24 Hours of Daytona was designed to showcar and embrace sportscars of years gone by, a fight broke out during the four one-hour races.

Potolicchio made an immediate impact on the historical event and raced bumper-to-bumper with the Audi R8 LMP1 of Andy Wallace and Doug Smith – the only two competitors to finish on the lead lap – bringing his orange-liveried Corvette home first in class and second overall after 88 tours of the legendary Daytona circuit, much to the delight of both driver and team.

Delighted to have concluded 8Star Motorsport’s 2014 season with yet another piece of silverware, Potolicchio said: “Everything went as planned and, as this was our first Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) event, it was really cool to be involved in the inaugural Classic 24 at Daytona,” said Potolicchio. “As always, the 8Star Motorsports team and the Coyote Corvette DP performed well and finishing second overall and first in class is just reward for a fantastic effort by all concerned.

“We experimented with setup changes for each race and felt really happy with the handling of the car, but I thoroughly enjoyed being back in the Corvette after almost a year out of the cockpit. It was nice to blow the cobwebs off and run against some other great classic racecars on what remains a legendary circuit – the Daytona International Speedway. I have to admit, the Classic 24 was more exhausting than the real Rolex 24 at Daytona and, as we found that a completely different strategy was required, we had a bit of learning to do. Adapting to the new strategies was the biggest challenge and we had to figure it out on the fly, but it all worked out.”

For more information on 8Star Motorsports and its racing activities, please visit thewww.8starmotorsports.com website, ‘like’ the team’s Facebook page or follow@8starmotor on Twitter.

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8Star’s Sarrazin achieves maiden international rally victory in Corsica

20141107232028-f90bacc08Star Motorsports’ Stéphane Sarrazin sealed his maiden international rally victory in the Giru di Corsica – Tour de Corse European Rally Championship (ERC) season-closer (6-8 November).

Sarrazin made an impeccable return to the rally stage in his native France when he took top honors in the Rallye Criterium des Cévennes – the penultimate round of the 2014 FFSA French Rally Championship (23-25 October) – at the wheel of his 8Star Motorsports-backed Ford Fiesta WRC.

The versatile Frenchman from Le Gard, a regular addition to the 8Star Motorsports fold, currently operates as a Toyota Racing factory driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and has accumulated no fewer than three pole positions and four podium finishes in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as three race wins at Petit Le Mans during a super-successful endurance racing career.

However, the 30-year old is famous for dovetailing his sportscar commitments with sporadic one-off rally appearances and has accrued several notable results, most recently adding to his trophy collection by winning the ERC-ending Giru di Corsica – Tour de Corse (6-8 November).

Victory in the ‘Rally of 10,000 Corners’ looked unlikely for Sarrazin on Friday (7 November), as 2013 Corsica winner Bryan Bouffier emerged as a more prominent threat following an earlier puncture, but the 8Star Motorsports-backed contender and co-driver Jacques-Julien Renucci would find an extra gear to complete the 11th and final stage with an 18.9s advantage over his chief rivals.

“It’s just a real joy to win the Tour of Corsica,” said Sarrazin. “Two weeks after the Rallye des Cévennes, which was quite important to me, we now clinch victory in one of the most legendary rally challenges. We really had to attack for that win. The first day was positive but we had to find the right compromise between risk-taking and pure performance. There were many tricky bits, we’ve managed to avoid them while taking our marks in Corsica. We knew that everything would depend on the second stage. Saturday morning we gave everything we had and really had to push. We had a fantastic car thanks to First Motorsport’s work and Jacques-Julien’s notes were just perfect. I felt confident, I managed to attack and I enjoyed myself very much, even if I was aware that something important was at stake. Those two stages marked my return to rally. In the end, I hadn’t driven that car lots in practice sessions, and actually never in competition before the Cévennes. Two wins with this two-rally program, which we had put up together with 8Star Motorsports and Oreca-Store.com, I couldn’t have hoped anything more than that!”

For more information on 8Star Motorsports and its racing activities, please visit thewww.8starmotorsports.com website, ‘like’ the team’s Facebook page or follow@8starmotor on Twitter.

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8Star sets out rallying ambitions after Sarrazin’s French rally renaissance

AUTO - RALLYE CRITERIUM DES CEVENNES 2014 8Star Motorsports has ambitions to branch out into the world of rallying and Rallycross, after Stéphane Sarrazin made a flawless return to the rally stage in his native France last week (23-25 October).

At the wheel of an 8Star Motorsports-backed Ford Fiesta WRC, 30-year old Sarrazin took top honors in the Rallye Criterium des Cévennes – the penultimate round of the 2014 FFSA French Rally Championship.

Sarrazin took command of the event in his home region of France and recorded the quickest times on no fewer than ten special stages to take the outright victory, more than five minutes ahead of his nearest opponents.

The multi-faceted Frenchman from Le Gard currently operates as a Toyota Racing factory driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and has featured as part of 8Star Motorsports’ driver line-up on several previous occasions.

His ultra-lucrative endurance racing career encompasses three pole positions and four podium finishes in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as three race wins at Petit Le Mans, but Sarrazin has also seen a great deal of success in rallying and enjoys keeping his hand in with sporadic one-off appearances on some of the world’s most demanding special stages.

As a result, 8Star Motorsports Team Boss, Enzo Potolicchio, is searching for likeminded partners wishing to increase brand awareness in rallying, saying: “I speak on behalf of everybody at 8Star Motorsports when I say how delighted we are to have been part of Stéphane’s (Sarrazin) victory in the 2014 Rallye Criterium des Cévennes. We have a team with a vast amount of experience in the world of rallying and Rally Cross, and we are looking for sponsors to eventually participate in this type of racing. With the experience of Stéphane and his co-driver Jacques-Julien Renucci, we truly believe we can be competitive in the World Rally Championship (WRC) and Rallycross.”

Sarrazin – the 2004 French Champion of Rally – officially represented Subaru during the 2005 and 2006 World Rally Championship (WRC) seasons and notably reached the podium places in the 2009 Rallye Monte-Carlo, won the Limosusin and Mont-Blanc rallies in 2012 and came third in last year’s Tour de Corse.

And with plans to take his 8Star and Oreca-Store.com-supported Ford Fiesta to the 2014 Tour de Corse (6-8 November) – the much-anticipated final round of the European Rally Championship (ERC) – Sarrazin can only hope to emulate the sort of results he notched up on his previous attempt in 2013.

“I am very happy about this success,” said Sarrazin. “My very first aim was to enjoy the rally and that was absolutely the case, with some great special stages that were sometimes very narrow and difficult to negotiate. I had to familiarise myself with the Ford Fiesta WRC, find a pace that is appropriate and a style that suits rally driving, but I had good feelings quite early on. We kept on attacking throughout the entire event and we did a great job. Jacques-Julien Renucci and I got on perfectly well and, as always, First Motorsport did a fantastic job. We managed to refine the setup whenever possible@ it was important for us to do so because we have the Tour de Corse in mind.

“Overall, every single special stage was an opportunity for us to improve. The Rallye des Cévennes was a real dream for me when I was a child, so I am really happy to have won it for the first time. It’s quite a special victory for me, in fact. I had a fantastic weekend and I would like to thank 8Star Motorsports and Oreca-Store.com for making it possible. Corsica will be another type of challenge, as I will face the best European drivers.”

For more information on 8Star Motorsports and its racing activities, please visit thewww.8starmotorsports.com website, ‘like’ the team’s Facebook page or follow@8starmotor on Twitter.

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Day of promise at Petit Le Mans comes to bitter end for 8Star Motorsports

Dagys_ 2014_321776What promised to be a day of celebration and elation for 8Star Motorsports ended on a disastrous note, as a potential race victory was cruelly swiped from the team’s grasp at Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda – the final round of the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup on Saturday (4 October).

With only 18 minutes of the ten-hour endurance feature race remaining, Sean Rayhall was leading the Prototype Challenge (PC) battle after a great comeback, when he was rear-ended into the wall.

Thankfully, the Georgia-based 18-year old emerged from the terminally damaged #25 PC machine unscathed after a tense moment of uncertainty, but was evidently frustrated.

After a tough start, Eric Lux gradually eased up towards the frontrunning pace and negotiated some traffic before being spun out ten minutes into the race. Beached on a curb, the New Yorker lost three laps to the leaders, although yellow-flag caution periods, strong speed and consecutive fastest laps allowed Lux and teammates Rayhall and Tom Kimber-Smith to claw their way back into contention.

By the halfway point of the race, 8Star was tantalizingly close to the lead lap and, with Rayhall in the car and just over three hours to run, the Pompano Beach-based team overcame Frankie Montecalvo for the lead.

8Star Motorsports continued to hold the initiative and Rayhall was the one chosen to finish the 2014-running of Petit Le Mans.

Unfortunately, with 18 minutes to go, the young Georgia hotshot was involved in a crash that ended the day for the 8Star Motorsports car and a highly frustrated Rayhall said: “I’m very disappointed with the end result, after a fantastic year for me and the 8Star Motorsports crew. Today we came back from three laps down and the car felt really good but, as we were closing in on the checkered flag, I was hit up the rear, ending our race. I feel really bad for Tom (Kimber-Smith), Eric (Lux) and the guys at 8Star Motorsports, as we had a great race and a great season together. Luckily I was able to walk away from the crash.”

Kimber-Smith added: “It was a very disappointing end to the race after everyone put in so much work during the build-up and having had such a strong car. I think that today’s race was a prime example that we have to look at driving standards. This season has been marred by incidents and it really is not acceptable; in qualifying and the races, there is just no consistency in penalties and I hope changes will be made for 2015. I am totally gutted and want to say a big thank you to Enzo (Potolicchio) and everyone at 8Star Motorsports, as well as Sean (Rayhall) and Eric (Lux).”

Lux continued: “8Star Motorsports gave us a great car and in each session we were able to get more and more time. I didn’t get the best start and, unfortunately, Renger Van der Zande spun me out at Turn 7. I was stuck on the curb and it put us three laps behind the leaders. Everybody in the team did an amazing job to get us back up to the front and Sean (Rayhall) and Tom (Kimber-Smith) did an amazing job, setting incredibly fast laps. We were able to lead a significant amount of the race and, with 18 minutes to go, a Ferrari sent Sean into the wall, ending our race abruptly. Fortunately, Sean is in good condition and we can focus on fixing the car in the off-season. This 8Star Motorsports team did not deserve to end the year in this way, as it had been working hard all season and even fighting for the championship up to the last round.”

8Star Motorsports Team Owner and driver, Enzo Potolicchio, concluded: “This isn’t the best way to finish the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season, but we are really happy that Sean (Rayhall) came out fine after that horrible crash. It is a shame we were taken out of the race with 18 minutes to go, as we were cruising to the checkered flag after Eric (Lux), Tom (Kimber-Smith) and Sean brought the car back into the lead. The most important thing to me is that Sean is ok and that the 8Star Motorsports team is a force to be reckoned with in the TUDOR Championship, becoming one of the leading teams for drivers and sponsors.”

For more information on 8Star Motorsports and its racing activities, please visit thewww.8starmotorsports.com website, ‘like’ the team’s Facebook page or follow@8starmotor on Twitter.

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8Star Motorsports third at conclusion of fraught Petit Le Mans qualifying

2014_Petit_LeMans_TUSC_0913 (2)8Star Motorsports qualified third in the Prototype Challenge (PC) classification for the 2014 Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda – the critical final round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup (NAEC) – at Road Atlanta on Friday (3 October).

Briton Tom Kimber-Smith will share driving duties with the Georgia-based Sean Rayhall and New York’s Eric Lux in the ten-hour title decider on Saturday (4 October).

Improvements were made during free practice on Thursday (2 October), with 8Star Motorsports – a contender for the TUDOR Championship Teams’ crown and the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup – consistently frequenting the top three positions.

Rain hit Road Atlanta on Friday morning and, in a move to preserve its car ahead of qualifying, 8Star wisely decided not to partake in the weekend’s final free practice session.

Fortunately, the wet conditions dissipated in time for qualifying and the drivers were able to show their full potential on a dry track. Kimber-Smith was elected to qualify bright orange #25 PC machine, having been the fastest of 8Star’s trio for most of the weekend, and an intense tussle for pole position would rage on until the British ace wound up third with a 1m16.599s, just four tenths shy of the fastest time.

“Qualifying went pretty well for the 8Star Motorsports team,” said Kimber-Smith. “I made a couple of mistakes coming off of Turn 5 that ultimately cost us in the final result, but a third place isn’t bad and I’m very much looking forward to the race, as I believe we will not have these problems tomorrow.”

Lux added: “8Star Motorsports did an outstanding job, improving the car throughout free practice and qualifying. Tom (Kimber-Smith) did a great job to qualifying the car on the second row of the grid and I am really looking forward to tomorrow’s race. I am pleased that the work I have been doing since my last race at Watkins Glen has paid off and I am very optimistic going into tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, in the supporting IMSA-sanctioned Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship, Christian Potolicchio clinched third position in the final standings. The young 8Star Academy scholar finished the opening IMSA Lites encounter on the third step of the winners’ rostrum and recovered from an unfortunate collision to conclude a rain-affected second race in 12th.

8Star Team Owner Enzo Potolicchio, on the other hand, had a troubled outing in race one, but mastered the wet conditions on Friday morning (3 October) to scythe his way from the back of the grid to second place at the finish, delighted that 8Star was able to clinch the runner-up spot in the Teams’ Championship.

“It has been a great season for 8Star Motorsports,” said Enzo Potolicchio. “The team has achieved several podium finishes in the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship and I’m delighted to have ended up second in the Teams’ standings with Christian (Potolicchio) third overall in the Drivers’ classification. Of course, we are still in the hunt for the Teams’ and NAEC titles in the TUDOR Championship and I’m really looking forward to achieving this by winning Petit Le Mans. But no matter what happens, I am really proud of the job the 8Star Motorsports team, including Yves Touron and Gary Neal, have done throughout the year.”

For more information on 8Star Motorsports and its racing activities, please visit thewww.8starmotorsports.com website, ‘like’ the team’s Facebook page or follow@8starmotor on Twitter.

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8Star Motorsports gunning for TUDOR Championship glory in Petit Le Mans finale

Dagys_ 2014_313778The leading 8Star Motorsports team heads to Road Atlanta for Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda (3-4 October), the highly-anticipated final round of the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, with the prospect of winning the Teams’ title and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup (NAEC).

A frontrunner for the duration of the 2014 season, the fates conspired against 8Star during the early part of the year, only for the tenacious Pompano Beach-based team to turn its fortunes around and emerge as the one to beat.

It recently took consecutive Prototype Challenge (PC) race wins at Virginia International Raceway and Circuit of the Americas and, while several championship titles will be decided at Petit Le Mans, 8Star is in the running for the TUDOR Championship Teams’ crown, as well as the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup (NAEC).

With the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fuelled by Fresh From Florida and the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International behind it, 8Star Motorsports sits on 28 points, ten adrift of its CORE autosport rival, with points scored at the four and eight-hour marks, and the at finish after hour ten at Petit Le Mans.

This comes after the Floridian outfit reinforced its commitment to developing young talent, expanding its flourishing 8Star Academy to open-wheelers with an entry in the 2015 Indy Lights Series Presented by Cooper Tires – the final step on the ‘Road to Indy’.

The Enzo Potolicchio-led team has a long-held passion for nurturing young talent and Sean Rayhall is a product of its already flourishing sportscar program. The 18-year old entered the 8Star fold and won the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship at the foot of its ‘stairway of talent’, before achieving a second place after a superlative drive on his PC debut at Petit Le Mans in 2013.

The Georgia hotshot has continued to notch up additional podium finishes and race wins in 2014. He most recently achieved two consecutive TUDOR Championship victories in 8Star’s PC challenger alongside Mexican Luis Diaz and, with previous form at his home Road Atlanta circuit, is hopeful of continuing that winning trend at Petit Le Mans.

“Coming off the back of two race wins and two pole positions, I’m pretty confident that 8Star Motorsports has a good shot of victory at Petit Le Mans, an event that holds fond memories for me,” said Rayhall. “The team has been working hard to give us drivers a good car all year and I know it will provide us with race-winning machinery again at Road Atlanta. Of course, this being an endurance race, the key will be to go the distance and it’s critical that we stay out of trouble – the race will be won or lost easily, particularly with so many cars on track. This is my home circuit and it has a real hometown feel about it for me, so I’m really excited about the weekend. Petit Le Mans is by far my favourite race and, having achieved second place on my PC debut last year, I have great memories of it.”

Briton Tom Kimber-Smith returns to the cockpit of 8Star’s PC machine for the first time since the Six Hours of The Glen in June and is also anticipating a strong end to the season: “I’m excited to be back driving the PC car with 8Star Motorsports after a few months away. 8Star has been the dominant team in the field and the bad luck we suffered at the beginning of the year appears to be a thing of the past. If we do our jobs as drivers, there’s a good chance of ending the weekend with at least one title. As Sean (Rayhall) and Luis (Diaz) have done such an incredible job of late, there is a little pressure, but I’m just interested to see what the event is like this year as part of the TUDOR Championship. The atmosphere has always been good, the circuit is fun to drive and the weather could throw another variable into the mix, making for an interesting weekend.”

Eric Lux also makes a welcome comeback to 8Star’s driver line-up and says he couldn’t be more excited ahead of the pivotal TUDOR Championship finale: “I could not be more excited to race with 8Star Motorsports at Petit Le Mans! Road Atlanta is a terrific circuit and Petit Le Mans has always been an outstanding event for fans and competitors. I am confident that the team will deliver a car capable of winning and match the effort with top-caliber work from the pits. Tom (Kimber-Smith) and Sean (Rayhall) have been excellent teammates this season. Our objective will be to protect the car and bring it to the front of the pack. I have finished on the podium twice at Petit Le Mans; ending this season with a win would be outstanding for Enzo (Potolichio) and 8Star Motorsports.”

For more information on 8Star Motorsports and its racing activities, please visit thewww.8starmotorsports.com website, ‘like’ the team’s Facebook page or follow@8starmotor on Twitter.