Level 5 Best in Baltimore
In a wild race run Saturday afternoon through the streets of downtown Baltimore, Level 5 Motorsports celebrated the best day in the team’s history of American Le Mans Series competition, finishing first and second overall and in LMP2 at the Baltimore Sports Car Challenge. After two hours of racing around the 2.04-mile temporary street circuit, it was the HPD ARX-03b of Christophe Bouchut and Scott Tucker carrying a 2.158-second margin to the checkers ahead of teammates Luis Diaz and Ricardo Gonzalez.
Level 5 was quick to capitalize on various misfortunes that struck all three LMP1 contenders, including the pole-qualifying Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03a of Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr. Starting driver Graf was pulling away from the field – and had built a lead of almost a full lap after 45 minutes of racing – when the gearbox actuator failed, resulting in a long pit stop for repairs.
With a replacement actuator installed, the Muscle Milk team resumed the contest more than six laps down to the leaders. But the team persevered to a third-place finish to protect its LMP1 championship lead with two races remaining in the 2012 American Le Mans Series.
Level 5 took command of the LMP2 contest when Conquest Racing’s David Heinemeier Hannson was penalized for contact with the LMP1 Lola of Dyson Racing. Spins, suspension failure and a pit lane penalty further delayed both Dyson entries. That turned the overall lead over to the #95 Level 5 HPD of Diaz, with teammate Bouchut in the #055 ARX-03b taking over at the front in the final half-hour. It was the first overall American Le Mans Series
triumph for both Bouchut and Tucker. The pair also extended its championship lead over the Conquest duo or Heinemeier Hansson and Martin Plowman, who suffered race-ending suspension failure with less than 20 minutes remaining.
Baltimore marked the first 1-2 overall finish for LMP2 machines in the American Le Mans Series competition since 2008, when the Acura ARX-01bs of Andretti Green Racing, Patron Highcroft Racing and de Ferran Motorsports finished 1-2-3 at the Grand Prix of Detroit.