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8Star claim podiums at Road America

Dagys_ 2014_2953398Star Motorsports and the #25 Prototype Challenge driven by Luis Diaz and Sean Rayhall qualified in third position at the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (9 August).

For Free Practice two and first of the day, 8Star started with Diaz at the wheel. Diaz, who has vast experience of Road America, had really great pace and was to post some really fast laps around the 4mile circuit. Luis “Chapulin” Diaz posted a best time of 2m00.514s to record the second fastest time in the Prototype Challenge class.

Practice three had Rayhall starting in the car and leading the practice for the initial segment of the session. After several cautions, the #25 Prototype Challenge lost some pace in traffic and was only being able to post a 2m02.191s. Diaz jumped in to close the session, but two red flags with fewer than 20 minutes to run left him with no chance of posting a faster time.

The qualifying session showed much improvement for 8Star, as Diaz qualified in third position after struggling in the previous practice. Only the top three cars could lower the two-minute barrier and “Chapulin” Diaz posted a 1m59.931s, five tenths slower than both first and second place in qualifying.

“The weeked has been positive until now and we ended up qualifying in third place,” said Diaz. “We have made some changes that definitely improved the car for the qualifying as these short weekends give you a short time to put the car up to speed. Sean (Rayhall) has been really fast in the car, I will start the race and I believe he will give a good fight at the end of the race. Having the car in third place for tomorrow makes me really happy as it gives us a better chance to fight for the race once the green flag is waved.”

Teammate Rayhall added: “I feel really optimistic about our chances tomorrow at Road America. We started on the wrong track, but as the weekend went on we got on the right track along with our engineers. I believe our car is a better race car than it is a qualifying car, so I’m really happy about Luis (Diaz) positioning the car in third place for tomorrow’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America.”

For the Cooper Tire Prototype Lites powered by Mazda, Race 1 of the weekend at Road America, Christian Potolicchio, with an incredible driving performance, finished in second position after starting in fourth. Christian, who quickly jumped to third position in the initial laps, was able to get to second place and keep it till the end of the race for his best season finish. Lamont Harris and Enzo Potolicchio didn’t have a great day, with Harris finishing in 11th position and Enzo not finishing after contact with another car.

“I am really happy with today’s race!” said Christian. “We were able to finish in second place, my best finish racing in the North America, and we continue to get valuable points for the team championship. This is the second weekend in a row that we finish on the podium, which is important for the team. I would really like to thank Sean Rayhall and all the 8Star team for all their help and for having the car ready week in and week 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 promising Indianapolis debut ruined by pit lane penalty

Indy14In a weekend in which 8star Motorsport looked set to deliver the team’s first victory in the Tudor United Sports Car Championship (USCC) Prototype Challenge Class, the team left for the long journey back to their Florida base with nothing more than a sixth place and a bitter pill to swallow following a stewarding decision that snatched away what looked like an odds on victory.

The teams strong driver pairing of Sean Rayhall and Luis Diaz had exploited a decent qualifying effort, where Mexican Diaz had put the car in third spot on a competitive grid, took the 8star machine quickly forward to lead the class and run an incredible eighth overall by as early as the third lap. Diaz at the wheel for the first stint and looking completely in control leading from the front and set to deliver on the teams pre ordained strategy to pull a lead before handing the car to Rayhall.

A series of full course yellows bunched the field and still leading, the team decided to use the third lengthy caution period to pit Diaz early, where great pit work saw him retain his lead as the other competitors chose to follow suit.

However, the team were informed that they had passed the red light at the end of the pit lane and therefore must pit again to serve a 60-second penalty for the infringement. With Rayhall having now taken over the car, he immediately returned to pit road to serve the punishment, emerging sixth in class and a lap down on the field with the true severity of the penalty being two minutes with pit road time and penalty time combined.

The best efforts of Rayhall were in vane, as despite a series of fastest laps, he was unable to recover the deficit imposed on the team and was resigned to finish in sixth, scant reward for the pace and strategy the team had displayed.

The post race mood was understandably disappointing and team owner, Enzo Potilicchio, found it hard to disguise his frustration and anger at a decision that had no reasonable explanation, “We could have won that, should have won that in fact. We made a great call in the pits and we got hit with a penalty that gained us no advantage that our competitors didn’t, but it cost us the race.”

Diaz was equally vocal in his dissatisfaction at the decision that had blighted what was an excellent performance by the experienced Mexican driver, ”I didn’t see the red light when I was coming out of the pits, and that was a problem. I was busy with the buttons and you don’t expect the pits to be closed at the exit. These things happen, it’s a tough lesson, but I need to learn from this.”

Sean Rayhall, who had nothing to show for what was in isolation a quick and faultless second stint, was defensive of Diaz and angry that the opportunity to win had been taken from himself and the team. “Starting my stint with an outlap followed by a pit lane penalty was crazy, I should have been racing for the victory not sixth place, the team and Luis did everything right and we had the car and the pace to win”

Gary Neal, 8Star Team Manager, was more upbeat as the dust settled, “We’ve got to learn from this, it’s another race procedure system to add to our checklist, but ultimately it is the responsibility of the drivers to observe the signals of the officials. That said, we got everything else right this weekend and have a strong package that will challenge next time out at Road America.”

Despite the setback, the team move on to Road America in two weeks time to set the record straight and search out the win that has thus far eluded them in their USCC debut year.

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8Star determined to break TUDOR Championship wins duck at ‘The Brickyard’

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Sean Rayhall and Luis Diaz hope to open 8Star Motorsports’ race wins account in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship ‘Brickyard Grand Prix’ at the world-famous and evocative Indianapolis Motor Speedway (24-25 July).

Rayhall shared the 8Star Motorsports-prepared ORECA FLM09 Prototype Challenge (PC) racer with Tom Kimber-Smith and Eric Lux in the preceding Sahlen’s 6 Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International approximately one month ago.

Victory was the chief objective for the Florida-based Venezuelan team, but simultaneous steering and engine troubles ultimately prevented it from converting a front-row starting position into a race win.

Nevertheless, 8Star’s pace was undeniable and only hinted at what was achievable, and Rayhall’s eternal optimism remains intact as he prepares to be re-joined by Mexico’s Luis Diaz for the Brickyard Grand Prix on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s hallowed asphalt (24-25 July).

The legendary circuit is gearing up for its headlining ‘Super Weekend at The Brickyard’, when the TUDOR Championship runs as part of an illustrious program of racing that includes the NASCAR Nationwide Series Brickyard 400.

Driving duties will be split between Rayhall and Diaz over the course of the 2h45m sprint race and the goal is to replicate the winning form 8Star has had in the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship by scaling the top step of the winners’ rostrum following podium successes at Laguna Seca and Kansas Speedway.

Rayhall said: “I remember first visiting Indy when I was four years old to watch the Formula 1 US Grand Prix and I’m truly looking forward to racing at ‘The Brickyard’, as it’s a different kind of special. I have done a lot of simulator work and training and I’ll quickly figure out how to get around the circuit. I’m also looking forward to the atmosphere that will come with racing alongside my friends in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and I’d love nothing more than to break 8Star’s Prototype Challenge race wins duck there.

“The fact is, we’ve been unfortunate to miss out on victories this year. I was devastated to be denied the win at ‘The Glen’, but the guys did one hell of a job to get us back into the race, and achieving a win won’t just be redemption for me, but for the entire 8Star team. This is only our first year and we’re already competing at the front. 8Star Motorsports has done a superb job in every aspect, consistently providing us with a race-winning car and perfecting the engineering, and we’re learning things as drivers too, so it’s not anybody fault that we’ve fallen up short of victory.”

Diaz added: “I’m very excited about going to ‘The Brickyard’ for the first time this weekend. Indianapolis is a historic track and it’s going to be a special moment in my career when I drive over the start/finish line for the first time. So far we’ve had a great season, achieving two podiums in two races, but we haven’t had that first win yet. I’m very optimistic that this weekend we can get it, as Sean (Rayhall) and I make a great team and I always know 8Star Motorsports will give us a great racecar.”

This weekend’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship ‘Brickyard Grand Prix’ at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 at 17:30 EDT.

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 takes first IMSA Lites wins in landmark weekend

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The Florida-based 8Star Motorsports team enjoyed its first outright race wins in the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship Powered by Mazda at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (12-13 July).

The victories were delivered by 8Star’s newest recruit and IMSA Lites debutant Remo Ruscitti, who was untouchable in a car he piloted for the first time during a pre-event test earlier in the week.

8Star regular Christian Potolicchio, meanwhile, achieved a great podium finish from seventh on the grid in race one and battled his way to fifth spot in treacherous conditions during the weekend’s second encounter to collect a strong points haul for himself and the team.

The results were then crowned by 8Star’s third driver, Lamont Harris spraying the champagne in celebration of another Masters class victory in the first of two races on the Ontario circuit for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s feeder series.

After a reasonable qualifying that saw Vancouver’s Ruscitti line up sixth, he demonstrated supreme racecraft on the formidable Canadian Tire Motorsport Park circuit, which has a reputation for rewarding bravery with an ultra-fast, undulating layout and close guard rails that leave little room for error.

Not that Ruscitti made any. Faultless displays in the dry in race one and a rain-soaked second race, where the 20-year old lapped the 3.95km track two seconds quicker than his nearest rivals, resulted in a brace of dominant IMSA Lites wins to compliment a superb victory in the Continental Tires Sportscar Challenge and cap off an unforgettable weekend for the Canadian hotshot.

“It has been a great weekend and to achieve three wins – two in IMSA Lites – is really unexpected, as I only tested the Lites car for the first time earlier in the week,” said Ruscitti. “Conditions were tricky today (Sunday 13 July), but I had a great opening lap and passed no fewer than 15 cars to take the lead. Other than one yellow-flag period, I had no issues and simply had to hold it together at the front.”

Potolicchio, satisfied with his third place finish, felt slightly disappointed not to follow it up with another podium in race two, saying: “I’m happy with the weekend and coming from seventh on the grid to third place in race one was good. The second race was very difficult, as I have only ever driven in wet conditions once before. I passed a couple of cars and was doing well until the rain intensified, making it was difficult to get to grips with the conditions. Taking everything into consideration, fifth place is a good finish.”

Rightly thrilled with his Masters class win, Harris was deflated as he left Canadian Tire Motorsport Park having failed to make the start of race two after problems on the out-lap sidelined him.

He said: “I was pleased to have taken the Masters win in the first race but I lost it and hit the wall on the out-lap, which is less than ideal. The conditions were really slippery and trying to get the tyres up to temperature caught me out.”

8Star Motorsports Team Manager, Gary Neal, said: “The race wins has been coming for a while now, but one thing or another has always happened to prevent the team from capitalizing on its position. This time around we put everything together, had a perfect car and delivered a perfect performance, with all of our drivers achieving some success this weekend.”

The Pompano Beach-based 8Star Motorsports outfit will return to the track for the Brickyard Grand Prix – the next round of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship – at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (24-25 July), while the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship will resume at Road America (9-10 August).

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 readies itself for IMSA Lites podium push at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

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8Star Motorsports’ Lamont Harris and Christian Potolicchio will push for the podium places, as the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship readies itself for the Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix Presented by Hawk Performance at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Ontario (11-13 July).

The 3.95km Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, formerly known as Mosport International Raceway, is situated near Toronto and it is widely recognised as the Home of Canadian Motorsport, with an illustrious history stretching back to 1961 that includes Formula 1 and IndyCar, as well as an array of other sportscar, open-wheeled and motorcycle contests.

8Star Motorsports’ Harris heads north of the border into Canada off the back of a well-deserved Masters class victory in the most recent round of the IMSA-sanctioned Prototype Lites Championship at Watkins Glen International (27-29 June).

The 49-year old from Palm Beach, Florida finished in a remarkable fourth place overall at the end of an incident-packed race, punctuated by several incidents and a long, drawn-out yellow flag period, and his confidence is sky-high moving forwards to a circuit that he has an natural affinity for.

“I didn’t go as fast as I did in the pre-event test at The Glen as it took forever to get going, so finishing fourth overall and first in the Masters category was a great way to end what had been a frustrating weekend,” said Harris. “I was really happy with the result and I’m feeling great ahead of this weekend’s racing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, which currently stands as my favourite circuit, with super-fast corners, good elevation changes and a short lap making for ultra-competitive racing.

“Free practice has been good so far, the car felt great and my teammate Christian (Potolicchio) is going quickly, even though the track hasn’t come in yet. All considered, I certainly feel I have the ability to replicate what I achieved at Watkins Glen, but the overall podium has to be my target this time.”

Potolicchio, on the other hand, vied for victory at The Glen two weeks ago, but became caught up in incidents to achieve a best seventh place result, but hopes to fulfill his full potential this time around at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, where he memorably broke his podium finishes duck in 2013.

“8Star comes into the weekend from a very good performance at Watkins Glen, where the car performed really well and we accomplished some good results in qualifying. We may have had some problems in the races, but Canadian Tire Motorsport Park brings back good memories for me, as it’s one of my favorite tracks of the championship where I got my first podium finish last year. I will be trying to repeat that this weekend, without a doubt!”

Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship free practice takes place from 9.45, while qualifying begins at 15.00 on Friday (11 July).

Race one will be held at 17.45 on Saturday (12 July), with race two the following morning from 9.40 (Sunday 13 July).

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Mechanical troubles impede 8Star’s bid for 6 Hours of The Glen victory

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8Star Motorsports finished tenth in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Sahlen’s 6 Hours of The Glen – the latest instalment in the Patron North American Endurance Cup – at Watkins Glen International, after mechanical problems impeded the team’s bid for victory.

Eric Lux, who started the #25 8Star Motorsports machine from second on the grid, was having a great run when the orange ORECA FLM09 Prototype Challenge (PC) racer simultaneously developed power steering and engine problems that made driving at speed impossible and forced the New Yorker into the pits.

A superb effort from the 8Star crew saw the car and Lux return to the fray with four and a half hours to run, albeit 28 laps down on the race leaders and with no hope of fighting for the top result Lux, Tom Kimber-Smith and Sean Rayhall had been threatening to achieve all weekend long.

Briton Kimber-Smith took over from Lux and his pace was indicative of what would have been achievable, as he recorded some incredible times to lap The Glen as the second fastest Prototype Challenge contender.

Rayhall ramped up the pace from one lap to the next, passing cars that were more than 20 laps ahead, and the 8Star team stubbornly continued on its way, showing true grit and determination by charging on to the very last and finishing tenth in the final PC classification.

“We came into this race in a good position and started from the front row after a great qualifying performance from Tom (Kimber-Smith),” said Lux. “We struggled a little with understeer and then the engine belt let go, which forced us back behind the wall. The team performed really well in stressful and time-critical situations to get the car back out on track to give us a chance of taking as many points as possible from the weekend.”

Kimber-Smith said: “It wasn’t our day today. The team did a fantastic job preparing the car and it shows that it doesn’t matter how much preparation you do, sometimes it just isn’t going to work out. The guys did a fantastic job putting the car back together.”

Rayhall added: “It’s a shame we had the power steering trouble, as the car was very good. 8Star’s crew, as well Tom (Kimber-Smith) and Eric (Lux), did a great job, but these problems took us out of contention for a decent result. The car was very strong and we proved that by running consistently at a pace that was more than good enough to finish in the top three in class. Still, it’s an honour for me to drive the Rembrandt Charms, Takis USA 8star Motorsports LMPC racer and I’m very proud of the guys.”

Enzo Potolicchio, concluded: “The car had been running great all weekend and Tom (Kimber-Smith), Eric (Lux) and Sean (Rayhall) had a great chance of getting a big result in the 6 Hours of The Glen, but a problem with the power steering and engine belt ended any hope of that. It really is a shame, as the whole 8Star Motorsport team had been working hard during the lead-up to this race.”

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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Front row start for 8Star after intense 6 Hours of The Glen qualifying battle

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Tom Kimber-Smith, Eric Lux and Sean Rayhall qualified 8Star Motorsports’ #25 Prototype Challenge (LMPC) racer in second position for the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Sahlen’s 6 Hours of The Glen – the next instalment in the Patron Endurance Cup – at Watkins Glen International (28 June).

Free practice two began with Rayhall’s first outing of the weekend in the striking orange-liveried LMPC machine. The Atlanta racer posted several fast lap times while negotiating a great deal of traffic, although Lux quickly got a feel for the car to improve on Rayhall’s best with a lap in the 1m42.2s, despite being impeded on a heavily congested track.

Practice three was Tom Kimber-Smith’s opportunity to get re-acquainted with 8Star’s LMPC contender and the Briton went second fastest as the red flags were waved to bring the session to a halt following an incident involving two of the team’s Prototype Challenge rivals.

Kimber-Smith closed free practice by recording the fastest lap of the weekend – 1m42.166s – and this boded well for qualifying, where there were further improvements during an intense battle for pole position.

8Star locked horns with Colin Braun in the CORE autosport machine and Starworks Motorsport’s Renger van der Zande from the very beginning of qualifying on Saturday (28 June) and a 1m40.823s from Kimber-Smith resulted in a front row grid slot.

“Qualifying was pretty good and starting from second place and the front row in a six-hour race is great. Anything can happen. I think we have a good, solid racecar and, between Eric (Lux), Sean (Rayhall) and I, we have a strong line-up, so we are gunning for the win.”

Lux added: “The testing we did leading up to this 6 Hours of The Glen has definitely paid off. Hats off to 8Star’s engineer, Yves, and the rest of the team for providing us with a really good setup, and to Tom (Kimber-Smith) for doing such a great job in qualifying to ensure we start from the front row. The plan for tomorrow’s race is to stay up at the front, keep it clean, and avoid all the mayhem from the other classes. If we manage that, I think we will be good.”

Meanwhile, at the end of an incident-packed race for the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, Lamont Harris finished fourth overall to take a well-deserved win in the Masters category.

The second IMSA Lites contest of the weekend at Watkins Glen, held over 45 minutes, was punctuated by several incidents and a protracted yellow flag period, with Christian Potolicchio one of the victims and falling from fourth to 15th position overall, and father Enzo Potolicchio retiring from fifth position with mechanical problems.

“It was a great race and a very fun weekend at this great venue,” said Harris. “I am really happy with the performance of the car and the guys at 8Star did a fantastic job throughout. I wish all the races were 45 minutes long and not the usual 30 minutes as it takes me some time to find pace during these short races. It has been a great weekend overall.”

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 begins 6 Hours of The Glen weekend with solid Prototype Lites performance

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8Star Motorsports’ weekend at Watkins Glen International began with a fourth place result for team boss Enzo Potolicchio following a superb drive from the back of the field in the opening Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship Powered by Mazda race on Friday (27 June).

Thursday’s first practice session saw 8Star’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship regular and Prototype Lites Champion Sean Rayhall make a triumphant return to the IMSA Lites fray alongside Christian Potolicchio and Lamont Harris.

Rayhall was the first to get into the groove at The Glen, going fastest in the #4 8Star machine, ahead of Christian and Harris who ended FP1 in eighth and 15th respectively, before improving on their best lap times in second practice.

Qualifying started with Rayhall leading 8Star’s charge, although Christian eventually eclipsed the former Champion by consecutively posting faster times that far surpassed his free practice pace, eventually going third fastest at the end of a truncated session that was red-flagged with 12 minutes left to run.

Harris also improved to qualify 11th and, while Rayhall posted the fourth fastest time, he would be replaced by 8Star team boss Enzo Potolicchio for Friday’s first race.

The star of opening 30-minute IMSA Lites race at Watkins Glen was Enzo, as the Venezuelan pulled off a superb drive from the tail end of the field to finish second in the Masters class and fourth overall, ahead of son Christian in seventh and Harris tenth.

Christian, who started third, initially took the lead and fought valiantly in the top three with Andrew Novich, until a spin with 12 minutes to go left him trailing down in ninth place.

A collision for Novich gifted the young Venezuelan seventh before the end of the race, which came to a premature conclusion under yellow-flag conditions, while Harris climbed one position to break into the top ten.

Enzo Potolicchio said: “It was a last minute decision to race in place of Sean (Rayhall) and it was quite satisfying to be able to get in the car for the first time this weekend and come back from dead last to finish second in Masters and fourth overall. It was a great run, I had a lot of fun and almost reached the podium. Also, having the opportunity to race with my son Christian was a great experience. We are really proud of him as he has been doing better and better this year.”

Having taken significant strides forward this weekend, Christian Potolicchio added: “I’m really happy, as this has been the best qualifying result of the year and I felt we had a good car for race one. I was able to improve lap-by-lap compared to Thursday’s free practice sessions and I felt a podium was possible in the race.”

In TUDOR Championship free practice for the Sahlen’s 6 Hours of The Glen (27 June), Tom Kimber-Smith, Eric Lux, and Rayhall took the #25 8Star Motorsports machine to the top of the timing screens with a 1m42.555s and will look to continue stamping their authority during the build-up to Sunday’s headlining six-hour endurance race (29 June).

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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Victory sole objective for 8Star Motorsports in 6 Hours of The Glen

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Victory is the sole objective for the leading 8Star Motorsports team in the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Sahlen’s 6 Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International in New York (27-29 June).

The Venezuelan team, based out of state-of-the-art facilities in Pompano Beach, Florida, stood atop the LMPC podium in the most recent round of the TUDOR Championship, Sean Rayhall and Mexican Luis Diaz taking command of the Grand Prix of Kansas sprint races with 8Star’s ORECA FLM09 prototype.

Rayhall returns to the cockpit of the arresting orange-liveried #25 machine for this weekend’s highly-anticipated 6 Hours of The Glen alongside Briton Tom Kimber-Smith and New Yorker Eric Lux, who return to the 8Star fold for the first time since the 12 Hours of Sebring in March.

This being Lux’s home race, there’s a heightened desire to perform and, following a super-productive, high-intensity test at ‘The Glen’ four weeks ago, the Williamsville-based racer is brimming with optimism about 8Star’s chances of victory.

“I completed over 250 miles during a single day of testing at ‘The Glen’ and it went very well,” said Lux. “The team and its engineers learnt a decent amount in varying conditions, all of which was very useful for me. While it’s my home track, I haven’t been to Watkins Glen since 2009 and the test proved to be a re-familiarisation with the circuit and a car that I haven’t raced since Sebring.

“As a result, I think the goal is to go for the win this weekend. The circuit is going to be an equaliser and with such a strong driver line-up and crew, we go into the race at a good level. The most valuable part of testing is getting so many clean miles because, with the format of the new TUDOR Championship, running is limited and the sessions are often littered with red flags. Seat time is drastically down compared to everything I’ve experienced before.”

Rayhall echoed Lux’s sentiments and felt just as positive about 8Star’s rate of progression with its LMPC racer since the start of the season, but particularly after the Watkins Glen pre-event test.

“I’m feeling good about a podium effort, as we tested extensively at The Glen and 8Star’s engineer, Yves, made some fantastic breakthroughs with the car’s setup that leave us all full of confidence going into this weekend’s endurance race,” said Rayhall. “I completed over 200 miles of running that was essential for getting a feel and finding improvements. Our performance is better overall and the ORECA is head-to-toe and different car to what we’ve been driving.

“8Star’s rate of progression with the car is impressive and I’m really happy with the pace. However, the 6 Hours of The Glen is about survival and everything falling into place, it isn’t a race where you can dominate straight out of the blocks. I think we have the car to win and, if we’re smart, we can come out with a good result. Good points to strengthen our championship position are essential here, but it all depends how well things shake out on the day.”

Enzo Potolicchio and his 8Star Motorsports squad are committed to the development of young and talented drivers from across the globe and formed a comprehensive multi-step ‘stairway of talent’ to provide prospective sportscar racers with an unbroken route to the uppermost echelons of international motorsport.

Christian Potolicchio and Lamont Harris both currently stand on the first rung of 8Star’s ladder of progression in the IMSA-sanctioned Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship, which holds a prestigious and high-profile position on the support bill for the TUDOR Championship.

Both Potolicchio and Harris will vie for victory at Watkins Glen this weekend as they attempt to stamp their authority in the 2014 Prototype Lites title race and establish themselves as Champions of the future in sportscar racing.

Potolicchio said: “I am very excited, as this is my first time at Watkins Glen, which is a track with so much history. The team has been working hard on the car and had the opportunity to work with my teammate Lamont (Harris) at The Glen during a couple of test days quite recently, so I’m confident the car will be in good shape after solving the problems we had at Kansas Speedway.”

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 fight and determination to the end pays off at the 82nd Le Mans 24 Hours

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8Star Motorsports showed the determination and resilience needed to finish fourth at the 82nd Le Mans 24Hrs at Circuit de la Sarthe this weekend (14-15 June).

Despite missing out on a lot of running during Wednesday and Thursday’s (11-12 June) practice and qualifying sessions, 8Star Motorsports were able to qualify 42nd overall and eighth in class to position themselves in a strong position ahead of the world’s most physically demanding endurance race.

When Saturday arrived – the day the whole world of motorsport had been anticipating -  Paolo Ruberti was the first to pilot the orange Ferrari 458 Italia and straight away impressed on the opening few tours of the 13km Circuit de la Sarthe.

Climbing three positions by the close of the second tour, Ruberti consistently lapped the world famous circuit with times that rivaled class leaders, and by the 90-minute mark, had positioned himself an impressive 33rd overall and fifth in class and closed in on a podium position, only for his hard earned work to be later undone. The Italian driver ran wide at Arnage and suffered a left rear puncture, but was fortunate enough to crawl back to the pits for a fresh set of Michelin rubber and rejoin the race.

Just as Ruberti rejoined the race, the heavens above opened, which left Le Mans resembling a river more than a race circuit.

Many drivers slowed to a snail’s pace due to running on slick tyres, before a heavy collision between the #81 Ferrari 458, the #3 Audi LMP1 and #8 Toyota LMP1 on the Mulsanne Straight called for the deployment of the first Safety Car of the weekend.

After 40 minutes of Safety Car interruption, as race marshals worked tirelessly to sweep the circuit clear of debris, the race was resumed with 22 hours remaining and Ruberti running 13th in the GTE Am class.

At the three-hour mark of the 24-hour race, Ruberti darted into the pits for a full service, which meant handing the reigns of the 8Star Ferari over to fellow Italian, Gianluca Roda.

The 55-year old carried Ruberti’s momentum forward and looked to make up the time lost to the tyre puncture and Safety Car, as he climbed to seventh in class as the sun began to set over Le Mans, leaving an orange picturesque glow over the circuit.

With the track constantly evolving as more rubber was laid down and track temperatures fluctuated, Frankie Montecalvo jumped into the drivers’ seat to open his Le Mans 24Hrs account and the first of the team’s night shift.

With the darkness of night now upon the teams and drivers, Montecavlo settled down for a long, lonely stint ahead, when clutch issues struck their Italian machinery, which lost them nearly three laps to the class leaders and potentially their hopes of a podium finish.

The team’s resilience showed in handfuls as they returned to the track with Ruberti, who was quick to carve this way through the field and moved up to third in class, before another unfortunate tyre failure hampered his running.

As the sun began to rise over the hills of Le Mans, Roda replaced Ruberti to continue in the race of nutrition.

The clock continued to count down and all three drivers circulated the famous Le Mans, when with two hours remaining, the GTE Am leading #95 Aston Martin came to a halt upon exiting the pits, but was fortunate enough to carry regain power and continue in the lead.

At the same time, the #88 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR was handed a 45-second penalty, which would demote him to third in class and the chance of a podium finish for 8Star Motorsports beckoned.

The team continued to chase down their class rivals, but were unable to snatch a podium position as they crossed the line a very impressive 24th overall and fourth in the GTE Am class after completing 330 laps.

Throughout the incredibly demanding 24-hour race, 8Star Motorsports showed the determination needed to succeed in the world’s toughest motor race, which is much about reliability than race pace, and can leave Le Mans with their heads held very high.

Speaking at the end of the race, Frankie Montecalvo said: “It seems fourth has been the story of my season, but given where we were on Wednesday during practice, it was an amazing result for the team! We fought up until the very end and can be very proud of what we have achieved.”

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.