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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.

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8Star expands driver development program with Indy Lights commitment

d4445a3e-85ff-4fbc-a588-22a06caf7ab6In an expansion of its newly-established young driver Academy, 8Star Motorsports has committed to an order for the brand new Dallara IL-15 open-wheeler for its 2015 campaign in the modernized, fresh-faced Indy Lights Series Presented by Cooper Tires.

Sanctioned by INDYCAR and operated by Andersen Promotions, Indy Lights is the final stage of the ‘Mazda Road to Indy’ driver development program – a three-phase ladder system that includes the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.

The highly acclaimed series has a rich history as a development platform for many of today’s top drivers and therefore ties in with 8Star Motorsports’ ongoing commitment to nurturing young talent through its flourishing ‘8Star Academy’ program.

8Star Motorsports Team Owner and accomplished racer, Enzo Potolicchio, is keen to extend his driver academy by bringing on more young, talented drivers who wish to pursue a career in single-seaters and, buoyed by the success of its sportscar programme in the United States and around the world, the Pompano Beach, Florida-based 8Star operation is already well underway with its preparations for a full-time 2015 campaign in the revamped Indy Lights Series.

The Cooper Tires-backed Indy Lights Series is set to undergo significant changes in 2015, with the advent of the Dallara IL-15 open-wheeler; the new chassis, tire and engine formula has been created to enhance the growth and value of Indy Lights and a top priority for the series is to provide a cost-effective platform for teams, drivers and partners.

Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions, said: “I am extremely pleased to have a high-caliber organization such as 8Star Motorsports joining our series. Enzo (Potolicchio) and his team have achieved much success in the sportscar ranks, and we know they will bring a top-level program to Indy Lights.”

8Star Motorsports Team Manager, Gary Neal, said: “8Star has placed an order for our first Indy Lights car. It will be among the first batch of ten cars from Dallara due to be delivered mid-November and the 8Star team will evaluate drivers at the first official Indy Lights test at Sebring in December. 8Star Motorsports’ 2015 plan is to run a two-car Indy Lights program and expand its successful TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Prototype Challenge campaign from one to two entries, based on customer interest. Also, under current evaluation is a P2 program. Several parties are working to unite their efforts for a solid attack on the 2015 TUDOR Championship.”

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 records second consecutive win from dramatic TUDOR Championship race in Texas

Dagys_ 2014_3140478Star Motorsports led from the front, sensationally converting pole position into victory in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Lone Star Le Mans feature race at Circuit of the Americas (20 September).

An incredible qualifying effort by Sean Rayhall was followed by a determined and resolute charge to victory lane for the second consecutive race by the Georgia-based racer and Mexican teammate Luis ‘Chapulin’ Diaz.

Saturday’s 20-minute morning warm-up was positive for the 8Star driver pairing, as they continued to lap the Austin circuit quickly to keep a tight grip on the top of the Prototype Challenge (PC) rankings, with a dominant one second advantage over the chasing pack.

A false start to the race was followed by a strong getaway for Chapulin, who stamped his authority by consistently improving his lap times to build a dominant lead.

Diaz, backed by Takis, stayed strong and led the PC class for the entirety of his stint, before handing the #25 entry to Rayhall with little under 1h40m to go.

Rayhall was quickly out of the pits and landed in second place behind CORE autosport’s #54 PC challenger in the hands of Colin Braun.

The pairing locked horns in the fight for the PC initiative and an attempt to pass at Turn 1 ended with the orange 8Star Motorsports machine spinning down to fourth position. Braun was penalized as a result and, from third, Rayhall began hunting down the top two in a determined bid to reclaim the lead.

With an hour to go, Rayhall was still in third place and pushing hard, but moved back to the top of the leaderboard when his rivals had problems entering the pit lane.

Following a remarkable recovery, the 18-year old concentrated on conserving his fuel to maintain first position during the run to the flag and clinch the second consecutive race win for the 8Star Motorsports team.

“What a day for 8Star Motorsports,” said Rayhall. “To get spun out and drop to fourth and get back to first position and finish there for the second time is amazing! I am thankful to be driving for this Takis 8Star Motorsports team and I really feel blessed to be one of Enzo Potolicchio’s drivers. Yves (Touron) and the crew did an excellent job, the car was amazing and we were able to get our second victory in a row.”

Diaz said: “I am extremely happy for the Takis 8Star Motorsports team, as the guys did an excellent job. Sean drove brilliantly to close the race, and the strategy worked out great for us. This is my last race with 8Star Motorsports and I can’t thank them enough for this amazing season. Being able to close it with two wins in a row and leaving the team in a position to battle for the championship at Petit Le Mans is just great.”

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 seals second consecutive TUDOR Championship pole at Circuit of the Americas

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8Star Motorsports qualified on pole position for the second consecutive TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race, the Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of the Americas (19 September).

Sean Rayhall, who is sharing the car with Luis ‘Chapulin’ Diaz, only had a couple of laps after a shortened qualifying session, but grabbed pole position with a convincing six tenths margin over the second-placed runner.

A troubled first practice session on Thursday afternoon (18 September) provided little opportunity for Rayhall and Diaz to get a feel for the #25 Prototype Challenge (PC) machine on the Circuit of the Americas.

After some laps, a 2m04.040s by Rayhall was good for a sixth on the timesheets, although second practice went much better for the 8Star Motorsports team, which finished fifth with a best time of 2m03.524s.

The Pompano Beach-based squad showed much improvement during the third and final practice outing, as Mexico City’s Diaz started the session and consistently frequented the top spots on a damp but drying track.

Conditions continued improving and some changes were made to the car, opening the door for Rayhall to record consecutive personal best laptimes and end the session in third place, with a much-improved 2m01.861s.

Rayhall, who had been the quicker of the two drivers for most of the weekend, was the one to qualify the Takis-backed 8star Motorsports machine and a red-flag stoppage meant the Winston, Georgia-domiciled racer had a very narrow window in which to get up-to-speed.

Green flags signaled the restart and, with under five minutes to run, Rayhall stepped on the gas to take a convincing pole position, his time of 2m00.528s almost six tenths of a second faster than his nearest challenger.

“I am really proud of this 8Star Motorsports Takis crew and, getting two pole positions in a row is a huge achievement,” said Rayhall. “We really made a wholesale change – it was kind of go big or go home – and Technical Director, Yves Touron, made the right call. Being on pole here at Circuit of the Americas by over half a second says a lot about our Continental Tires, which came in quickly and allowed me to push during those couple of laps.”

Diaz added: “We are really happy! We came here with great expectations and, even though we started the weekend with some problems, we never panicked and the 8Star guys Sean (Rayhall) and I the best car. Tomorrow I hope to stay up front and build as much of an advantage as possible before handing the car over to Sean, and fight for the win here at Circuit of the Americas.”

Lone Star Le Mans, Round 9 of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, is scheduled to begin at 12.30 EDT on Saturday (20 September) and will be broadcast on FOX Sports 2.

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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Euphoria as 8Star takes second win from momentous Oak Tree Grand Prix weekend

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8Star Motorsports capped off a momentous weekend with Luis ‘Chapulin’ Diaz sealing the team’s second consecutive Prototype Challenge (PC) race win in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) on Sunday (24 August).

The Pompano Beach, Florida-based outfit took a clean sweep of victories at the ultra-high-speed VIR, bringing to an end a lengthy winless streak and keeping it in the hunt for the TUDOR Championship PC class title.

A superb qualifying effort by young Atlanta charger Sean Rayhall ensured 8Star Motorsports of pole position for the weekend’s two 45-minute PC contests, and Mexico City’s Diaz used this advantage to great effect by leading RSR Racing’s Bruno Junqueira from lights-to-flag in a cool, calm display.

As Junqueira encountered problems, CORE autosports’ Colin Braun and Starworks Motorsport’s Renger van der Zande emerged as 8Star’s chief threats, but Diaz kept his head down and held the initiative until a full-course caution shortened the race with seven minutes to run.

Diaz was undoubtedly the happiest man in the VIR paddock on Sunday afernoon and his celebrations were far from muted as he emerged from the cockpit of the race-winning #25 PC racer.

Diaz said: “I’m really happy and this win is an incredible feat for the Takis-backed 8Star Motorsports team. The guys gave me a great car and this gave me an edge over our rivals to achieve this incredible, well-deserved victory. Sean (Rayhall) deserves a lot of the credit, as he did a great job in qualifying and yesterday’s (Saturday 23 August) race. This win gives us an opportunity to continue fighting for the championship for our great sponsor, Takis, and the team.”

A euphoric Enzo Potolicchio, added: “I’m delighted for Luis (Diaz) and every one of our guys in the 8Star Motorsports crew, as I know how hard thye have worked this season to accomplish these victories. Sean (Rayhall) also did a great job yesterday to put Luis and the team in a position to win. Overall, it has been a great weekend and now we go to Circuit of the Americas (COTA), where we will have another chance to continue adding points towards the championship with more wins.

In the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship, which shared the VIR circuit with the faster PC runners, Christian Potolicchio finished fourth to add yet more crucial points to his ever-expanding total, while Lamont Harris overcame early problems to finish in a creditable eighth position and Enzo Potolicchio was forced to abandon his race 15 minutes from the end.

The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s next port of call is the state-of-the-art Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, which hosts the Lone Star Le Mans event (19-20 September).

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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Jubilant 8Star Motorsports team breaks Prototype Challenge race wins duck at VIR

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A jubilant 8Star Motorsports broke its Prototype Challenge (PC) race wins duck in the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) on Saturday (23 August), Sean Rayhall never looking back from pole position and dominating from start to finish.

A sensational time of 1m41.447s took Rayhall to the top of the times in qualifying for the first time this year, the Winston, Georgia-based racer sealing pole position for the first of two races with a full second in hand over second-placed Frankie Montecalvo.

Rayhall shot away from pole position in Saturday’s 45-minute Prototype Challenge (PC)/Cooper Tires Prototype Lites race, posting fastest lap after fastest lap to build a gap of almost seven seconds over nearest rival Duncan Ende as he encountered lapped traffic.

Unfortunately, a yellow flag negated Rayhall’s advantage, although the 18-year old Atlanta racer kept the initiative at the restart and gapped the chasing pack by six seconds during the final eight minutes to take the #25 8Star Motorsports-prepared PC challenger to victory at the fast, technical VIR.

Rayhall said: “I’m very excited to bring home a win for the 8Star Motorsports Takis crew. This is overdue and it’s well deserved, but it was a relatively straightforward day and I’m just really thankful to my guys for giving me such a great car; hats off to them. Hopefully, Luis (Diaz) will have a great day tomorrow (Sunday 24 August) and can bring home another win for the 8Star Motorsports guys.”

In the supporting IMSA-sanctioned Prototype Lites Championship, Christian Potolicchio continued his recent run of form by qualifying in fifth position, beating father Enzo Potolicchio in sixth and Lamont Harris, who emerged from a tough session in 12th position.

With PC and IMSA Lites runners sharing the high-speed circuit, Christian, Enzo and Harris all faced a stern challenge, having to focus on their own battles while trying not to impede the quicker PC contingent.

Nevertheless, Enzo finished fifth overall and took first place in the Masters category, with Harris utilizing a determined run to surge from his 12th-place grid slot to eighth at the flag and Christian coming to grief in the latter stages and taking ninth after battling for P4 for the most part.

Enzo Potolicchio said: “It has been a really good day for 8Star Motorsports, as the team achieved a long overdue win in the PC class. In Prototype Lites, we didn’t have our best race, even though I won in the Masters class. We are going to try to improve the cars for tomorrow’s race and hopefully have a better result. We have made a lot of progress over the course of the year and we will continue to work to have the edge that other teams have managed to find. Hopefully Luis Diaz has a great day tomorrow and gets another win for the hard working 8Star Motorsports team.”

The final Prototype Challenge/IMSA Lites race will take place at 10.45 EDT on Sunday (24 August) and will be broadcast live on FOXSports1.

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.