Victory remains elusive for the ambitious 8Star Motorsports team, although it is hopeful of finally breaking its race wins duck in the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) this weekend (23-24 August).
Based out of state-of-the-art facilities in Pompano Beach, Florida, 8Star Motorsports has had a mightily impressive season in the Prototype Challenge (PC) division of the newly-amalgamated TUDOR Championship.
Podium finishes have been well received by all concerned with the Enzo Potolicchio-led operation.However, 8Star’s will to win has only increased as fate has repeatedly conspired against it while on course for victory, and it heads to VIR – a 3.27mile white-knuckle ride near Danville, Virginia – with the sole aim of scaling the top step of the winners’ rostrum.
The weekend will consist of two 45-minute sprint races for Prototype Challenge runners and competitors from the entry-level Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship and, in a change to the format, points will be rewarded for both contests.
Sean Rayhall and the Takis-backed Luis Diaz will once again pilot 8Star’s PC machine, while Enzo Potolicchio, Christian Potolicchio and Lamont Harris front the team’s IMSA Lites charge.
Rayhall said: “8Star Motorsports is well and truly in the hunt and the fight is pretty close, so the objective will be to score good, solid points in both races at Virginia International Raceway. The car is improving all the time and we had really good pace at Road America, so we were unfortunate to lose out in the way we did. Nevertheless, I’m optimistic about our chances and believe the win will be well within reach once again. I like what IMSA has done with the format, awarding points for both races, and I think sharing the track with the Lites runners is guaranteed to make things more eventful.
“I’m pretty sure VIR’s new track surface will suit us and it’s a circuit I’m particularly fond of, having won a championship title there with a broken foot when I was 15. We don’t have many high-speed circuits in the US, but VIR is fast and all about rhythm. If you overdrive through one turn, you’ll mess up the next. It requires patience and mistakes can be very costly. The quick corners are where I excel and a lack of overtaking opportunities means I’m very hungry to get pole position and translate that into a race win.”
Diaz added: “Virginia International Raceway (VIR) is a track I enjoy quite a lot, as it’s very challenging, especially with traffic. It will be interesting to see how it works with the IMSA Lites cars this weekend. Last time we had this format it was a different experience, for sure. Sprint races make everyone more aggressive, so i think it’s going to be very exciting. Sean (Rayhall) and I have had a good year so far, achieving a lot of podiums, but I think we’re definitely due a race win. We’ve been very close this year and I have a very good feeling for VIR.”
Christian Potolicchio said: “My season started with a big crash at Sebring that made my race weekend tough and I didn’t get as many points as I expected on a track I really enjoy. Things have improved from there and the communication with my engineer is great, so I am much better at making changes to help my driving. This will be my first visit to Virginia International Raceway (VIR), but I should get more than enough mileage and build confidence during the promoter test day.
“I’m not really looking at anybody else and will be purely focused on finishing races in the best position possible. Consistency will bring championship results. I believe the pressure is not on me at all, I have a great team supporting my efforts and I have to thank them for all the hard work they do in providing me with such a good car.”
The first of two Prototype Challenge/IMSA Lites races will take place at 17.15 EDT on Saturday (23 August, with the second encounter scheduled for the following morning (Sunday 24 August) at 10.45 EDT. Both will be broadcast live on FOXSports1.