A Unpredictable future for Tucker and Bouchut

by Sarah Barnes

The field of motor racing is aggressive competition-flying around a track with a large number of additional motor vehicles and one misstep can send a car to the pit, or much worse, in to a disastrous, competition-ending and fiery accident. Even while within the course it's each and every driver for himself, unbelievable things can occur when talents collide not in a race condition, but in collaborative relationships that supply the foundation for racing teams to take off.

One such collaboration continues to be the pair of Scott Tucker and Christophe Bouchut. Their collaboration 1st was that of educator and pupil, as Bouchut was the best flourishing endurance racers in today's world by the time Tucker, at 44, took the competition wheel for the first time in 2006. Previously, Tucker was chairman and CEO of Westfund, a private equity firm, but had always harbored a passion for auto racing. Once the opportunity came about for him to drive competitively, Tucker was an impossible success story, but he performed in a way that can only provoke the label "he's a natural." He began in the Ferrari Challenge before sampling the area with Porsche Super Cup, IMSA Lites and Rolex Series GT competitions. In time, he formulated Level 5 Motorsports and in 2008 moved into Grand-Am prototype contests, where Bouchut joined forces with him.

The mixture of Bouchut and Tucker, with the addition of Luis Diaz this current year, has provided terrific results in the ALMS and ILMC up to now. Quite a few podium finishes and many victories are proof that not only is Tucker adding energetic, steady expertise to his group, but he himself is also progressing. But as competition heats up for the end of the 2011 season with just ILMC and ALMS championships left go, it's not outrageous to question if competitors could heat up within the Level 5 team as Tucker's skill level carries on improvement.

Just before he joined Tucker, Bouchut won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1993 and has also won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. On top of that, he's won about three Porsche Carrera Cup France championships, three FIA GT titles and a FFSA GT championship. He is the only triple FIA GT champion of all time. His enduring career made him the very best teacher for Tucker, who needed to stuff years of expertise into as few years as possible to get him up to date, so to say, with other drivers in his class.

Both made 4 starts with Level 5 Motorsports in the 2008 Rolex series, including the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Before long, Level 5 became a regular attendee of Rolex races, driving a Daytona prototype. Tucker maintained his Ferrari Challenge entries and won 10 races in 2009. Of which year, he also won the SCCA Touring 1 Class National Championship, his very first national title.

After that, Level 5 Motorsports obtained momentum, taking third place in the Rolex 24 in 2010 with Tucker, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Lucas Luhr and Richard Westrbrook driving. Ultimately, the team made the turn to the American Le Mans Series, something Tucker had always aspired to compete in. In the new Le Mans Prototype Challenge class, gentleman drivers were permitted to drive two cars in the same race, with the scoring driver in the best place vehicle. Tucker and Bouchut saw a way for success within the new class.

Tucker was good, but Bouchut had the speed and command that only one with his expertise could bring to the track. Concentrating on the same objective of winning as many races as they could enter in, Bouchut and Tucker fell into a superb agreement for Level 5, with Bouchut becoming head driver and Tucker holding his own while he also finished practice rounds. Level 5 won five class competitions and took the class title in the LMP Challenge category and was bumped up to LMP2.

At the beginning of 2011, Level 5 was joined by Luis Diaz, who had loads of LMP2 experience and made a terrific component to the Tucker-Bouchut formula. The team has had an exceedingly productive year so far, with the Petit Le Mans and Intercontinental Le Mans Cup in China being essentially the only things left on the calendar of a year that included lots of podium finishes and wins at Imola and other major ALMS races.

But as Level 5 Motorsports advances, so does Scott Tucker, and before long, the dynamic duo of Tucker-Bouchut could separate. Tucker told Speed TV in 2010 that he and Bouchut would consult each other on which races they would enter together. He said they prefer championships that don't pit two professional drivers against each other; they get too competitive in that setting, he stated. Even though any parting would undoubtedly be with good standing on both sides, the continuing success of Tucker begs the question of where he'll go next, who he'll take with him, and how the Level 5 Motorsports team will grow from its burgeoning success.

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