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Jan 24, 2014 - 03:57 PM
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8Star Faces Uphill Battle From Rear Of 24 Hours Of Daytona Grid
Posted by: newsla on Jan 24, 2014 - 03:48 PM
Grand Am News
8Star Faces Uphill Battle From Rear Of 24 Hours Of Daytona Grid


8Star Motorsports has it all to do from the back of the grid after missing qualifying for the 2014 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona – the first round of the inaugural IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (23-26 January).

 

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What began as an encouraging and positive opening day at Daytona International Speedway ended in frustration for the Florda-based 8Star Motorsports team when it was sidelined by a spectacular gearbox failure.

8Star’s striking ORECA FLM09 LMPC prototype ran faultlessly as the outfit carried out initial preparations and Tom Kimber-Smith bedded-in components ahead of the race, while Daytona debutant Rob Huff also had a trouble-free maiden run in the car, swiftly settling into a competitive rhythm.

Gentlemen driver Michael Marsal clocked up several precious laps in the day’s second free practice session, before handing the reins back to Kimber-Smith for what would prove to be the final laps of the day for the number 25 machine.

The ORECA prototype coasted to a halt at the exit of the International Hairpin, flames billowing from the its rear-end.

A gearbox failure was later deemed the cause of the stoppage, while the fire was a result of spilt oil igniting on the car’s searing hot exhausts.

While 8Star’s mechanics expertly went about repairing the ailing ORECA, the team could only watch the ultra-competitive qualifying session unfold as CORE Autosport took the LMPC class pole with a 1m41.777s – an achievable benchmark for 8Star, had the team been afforded the opportunity to compete.

Driver and Team Owner, Enzo Potolicchio, quipped in frustration: “I’m really pissed off. You do all you can to make the car as good as it can possibly be, only to be sidelined by something that’s completely out of your control. The engineers will make a thorough repair of the gearbox to ensure it’s perfect for the race.”

Team Manager, Gary Neal, added: “Starting from the back of the grid may be a blessing in disguise. It’s a big field of 67 cars that have yet to run together and letting the chaos of the opening laps unfold and staying out of trouble could work to our advantage. The race is about being in the lead during the 23rd hour, not the first.”

8Star Motorsports will use the one-hour pre-race warm-up at 11.30 (EST) to shake down the car ahead of the start of the 2014 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona on Saturday (25 January).


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