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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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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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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 seeks back-to-back TUDOR victories at Circuit of the Americas

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8Star Motorsports will be hoping to take the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship initiative during this weekend’s Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas (19-20 September). 

Built in 2012, Circuit of the Americas has hosted several prestigious motorsport events, including Formula 1 and Moto GP, and encompasses many fast, sweeping corners, as well as the steep climb to the tight apex of Turn 1.

Based out of state-of-the-art facilities in Pompano Beach, Florida, 8Star Motorsports broke its race wins duck last time out at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) and the Enzo Potolicchio-led operation will be hoping to replicate that success at the penultimate round of the season at Circuit of the Americas.

Currently second in the Prototype Challenge Teams’ standings, 8Star Motorsports has gone from strength-to-strength this season and heads to Austin focused on taking the title initiative from rivals, CORE autosport.

This weekend’s 2h45m endurance feature race will once again se Sean Rayhall and the Takis-backed Luis Diaz in the cockpit of 8Star’s PC machine, hoping to carry their winning momentum forwards in order to stand atop the winners’ rostrum once again.

“We are definitely carrying a lot of momentum into Austin and I’m very confident that we’ll have a good car right out of the box and everybody in the team is coming in with only one goal in mind and that’s to win,” said Diaz. “We’ve had a great season so far; we’ve been a threat for the win at every event, and every time we are out on track we get stronger as a team. Of course, you always want to win, but I’m happy with what we’ve done.

“I’m very excited about finally doing my first race at CotA. I don’t really have much experience there, but I got a chance to do a few laps and it is a great track; very technical and very fun. For me it will be a sort of home race since it’s the closest event we have to Mexico, and one where we will have many guests from Takis, Extreme Networks, Bojanini and our other sponsors. We’ll just do what we always do, go out there during practice and work on the setup of the car, and just focus on the race. It will be tricky with traffic, but my goal is to push very hard to get one more win for the team.”

Qualifying for Round 9 of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Lone Star Le Mans is scheduled to begin at 17.30 EDT on Friday (19 September) with the endurance feature race at 12.30 EDT on Saturday (20 September), which 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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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 head to Road America in search of podiums

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Sean Rayhall and Luis Diaz are determined to take victory for 8 Star Motorsports in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship during the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America (8-10 August).

Located midway between Milwaukee and Green Bay in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Road America’s fast, flowing nature will expose any straight-line speed deficiencies, while the tight, twisty infield will require a near-perfect car balance.

The talented pair – Rayhall and Diaz – will look to put memories of what could have been at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway behind them as they reach for the top step of the podium at the Elkhart Lake-based track.

The Florida-based team was leading the PC class when a pit lane penalty put it a lap down in sixth position at the much-lauded circuit. Nevertheless, 8Star’s pace was undeniable and only hinted at what was achievable.

Once again, the race will run for 2h45m on Sunday (10 August) and both drivers will be taking an equal share of the driving duties during their bid to take the top honours.

“I’m very excited about going to Road America this weekend, it has always been one of my favourite tracks and I’ve achieved a lot of success there,” said Diaz. “There’s no doubt we are ready to win a race. Indianapolis was looking great, but unfortunately the pit penalty cost us the victory. But, as always, I know the 8Star Motorsports team will turn up with a fast car right out of the box and I’m looking forward to once again fighting for that win with Sean (Rayhall).”

The 8Star Motorsports team will hope to keep the podium positions coming in the next Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship Powered by Mazda race at Road America (8-10 August).

Having secured its first outright race victory last time out at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last month (12-13 July), 8Star’s Christian Potolicchio and Lamont Harris sit inside the top eight of the championship, and are looking to improve on their standings in the fourth round of the junior sportscar series.

“I am really happy to return to Road America again this year, as we are better prepared and I have a better knowledge of the car,” said Potolicchio. “I am really happy with my new engineer, Yves Touron, we know the track much better and we expect to be in the fastest cars once again.”

Teammate Harris added: “I’m really looking forward to this weekend. This will be my fourth time racing at Road America, which is a track that has a lot of slower to mid-speed corners, which have been my weakness as of late. But I’ve been working on improving that side of my driving technique in the past few weeks, so we should go well round there. Everyone in the team is in a really good place at the moment, which bodes well for this weekend, where I’m hoping I can not only get a podium in the Masters Class, but also outright.”

This weekend’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Continental Tire Road Race Showcase’ at Road of America will be televised live on FOX Sports 1, with qualifying on Saturday at 16:20 EDT and the race Sunday at 18:30 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.