8Star-Watkins-Glen1

Tom Kimber-Smith, Eric Lux and Sean Rayhall qualified 8Star Motorsports’ #25 Prototype Challenge (LMPC) racer in second position for the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Sahlen’s 6 Hours of The Glen – the next instalment in the Patron Endurance Cup – at Watkins Glen International (28 June).

Free practice two began with Rayhall’s first outing of the weekend in the striking orange-liveried LMPC machine. The Atlanta racer posted several fast lap times while negotiating a great deal of traffic, although Lux quickly got a feel for the car to improve on Rayhall’s best with a lap in the 1m42.2s, despite being impeded on a heavily congested track.

Practice three was Tom Kimber-Smith’s opportunity to get re-acquainted with 8Star’s LMPC contender and the Briton went second fastest as the red flags were waved to bring the session to a halt following an incident involving two of the team’s Prototype Challenge rivals.

Kimber-Smith closed free practice by recording the fastest lap of the weekend – 1m42.166s – and this boded well for qualifying, where there were further improvements during an intense battle for pole position.

8Star locked horns with Colin Braun in the CORE autosport machine and Starworks Motorsport’s Renger van der Zande from the very beginning of qualifying on Saturday (28 June) and a 1m40.823s from Kimber-Smith resulted in a front row grid slot.

“Qualifying was pretty good and starting from second place and the front row in a six-hour race is great. Anything can happen. I think we have a good, solid racecar and, between Eric (Lux), Sean (Rayhall) and I, we have a strong line-up, so we are gunning for the win.”

Lux added: “The testing we did leading up to this 6 Hours of The Glen has definitely paid off. Hats off to 8Star’s engineer, Yves, and the rest of the team for providing us with a really good setup, and to Tom (Kimber-Smith) for doing such a great job in qualifying to ensure we start from the front row. The plan for tomorrow’s race is to stay up at the front, keep it clean, and avoid all the mayhem from the other classes. If we manage that, I think we will be good.”

Meanwhile, at the end of an incident-packed race for the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, Lamont Harris finished fourth overall to take a well-deserved win in the Masters category.

The second IMSA Lites contest of the weekend at Watkins Glen, held over 45 minutes, was punctuated by several incidents and a protracted yellow flag period, with Christian Potolicchio one of the victims and falling from fourth to 15th position overall, and father Enzo Potolicchio retiring from fifth position with mechanical problems.

“It was a great race and a very fun weekend at this great venue,” said Harris. “I am really happy with the performance of the car and the guys at 8Star did a fantastic job throughout. I wish all the races were 45 minutes long and not the usual 30 minutes as it takes me some time to find pace during these short races. It has been a great weekend overall.”

 

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