February 27, 2014 — Marshall Pruett photo — MADISON, WI — Rolex 24 at Daytona GT Daytona class winners Level 5 Motorsports are set to formally announce their departure from the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship after a memorable result in the opening round.
According to a report from renowned sports car journalist Marshall Pruett, the Scott Tucker-owned team will not compete at next month’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, and is expected to make final its departure from the TUDOR Championship this week.
Drivers Townsend Bell, Bill Sweedler, Jeff Segal and Alessandro Pier Guidi drove the No. 555 Ferrari F458 to the GTD win at Daytona after IMSA reversed a penalty on the final lap that initially awarded the victory to Flying Lizard Motorsports. The sister No. 556 Ferrari piloted by team owner Scott Tucker, Mike LaMarra, Terry Borcheller and Guy Cosmo placed sixth in GTD. Both cars are now for sale.
“Scott Tucker gave me the authority to choose where we race this year, and I’m not here to throw stones, but I decided it’s not in Level 5’s best interest to move forward this season in the TUDOR Championship,” Level 5 team manager David Stone explained yesterday. “We’ll run some cars in the Ferrari Challenge series and have been approached by some people to run in the Pirelli World Challenge series, so we’ll look at that; and there are numerous manufacturers that are building LMP2 coupes and that’s a possibility.”
“I’ve got two different OEM possibilities we’re bidding on for 2014 that could be as simple as some test outings and could include doing some events in TUDOR. I’ve spoken with the series about that, and they said they’d be open to accommodating additional prototypes. So we’re looking at all avenues for the team to go forward.”
The move for the multi-time ALMS class champions comes as a surprise, however Bell and Sweedler, who have partnered as co-drivers since the 2012 ALMS season, appear to have a backup plan in place.
Former Grand-Am Rolex GT champions AIM Autosport were close to fielding a Ferrari GTD entry this season, but when that deal fell through late last year, team principal Ian Willis appeared at the Rolex 24 working with Level 5. Willis could step in to run Bell and Sweedler for the remainder of the year.
“Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell will likely join AIM, and we’ll assist their program if that’s what ends up happening,” Stone confirmed. “AIM is who I recommended to Bill and Townsend to carry on with.”