After impressing at the wheel of CORE autosport’s Oreca FLM09 over the past two seasons, Tom Kimber-Smith will make the switch to 8Star Motorsports for 2014 to lead its Prototype Challenge attack.
Sportscar365 has learned that the three-time Le Mans class winner has signed with the Enzo Potolicchio-owned operation for the four-round Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup, beginning with this month’s TUDOR United SportsCar Challenge season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“To do the enduros for the year is pretty exciting,” Kimber-Smith told Sportscar365. “People don’t really look at the PC car as a pro driver, but I thoroughly enjoy driving these things.
“The racing is pretty good. If you look at the field here today and look at the drivers that are in the PC field. You’ve got some world class drivers like Sam Bird from GP2 and WTCC champion Rob Huff. So it’s starting to attract the right crowd. I think it can only get better.”
The New York-based Englishman, who teamed with Potolicchio to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012, was originally scheduled do a few Rolex Series races in 8Star’s DP last year but it failed to materialize due to his WEC commitments with Greaves Motorsport.
Kimber-Smith has now been given the opportunity to lead the Florida-based team’s attack in PC and has been off to a quick start. He topped the time charts in Sunday morning’s test session at Daytona and is excited for the challenge ahead.
“I’ve been very lucky to have driven the CORE car,” Kimber-Smith said. “They’re now three-time PC champions. I’ve been in the best car for the past two years so I’ve been very fortunate to have that opportunity. I’m trying to take as much of that into this team as possible. So far, so good.
“We’re doing well. But the 24 hour race is a unique one. It’s very, very difficult and probably harder than Le Mans. I know it’s going to be extremely cold [at night], which I’m not looking forward to!
“The team is awesome. They don’t need to prove themselves. They did really well last year in DP. Enzo is a great team owner. I’m looking forward to it.”
The remainder of 8Star’s lineup for the full TUDOR Championship season or NAEC has yet to be announced
A number of drivers have turned laps in the 8Star car this weekend, including Kimber-Smith’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge teammate Michael Marsal, along with the team’s 2013 DP pilot Emilio DiGuida and SCCA racer Gaston Kearby.
Enzo Potolicchio’s 18-year-old son, Christian, who impressed in his rookie season of IMSA Prototype Lites competition, is due to get his first laps in the PC car this afternoon.