After winning the GTE-Am teams’ title last year, 8Star Motorsports and Enzo Potolicchio return to the FIA World Endurance Championship looking for a repeat in the increasingly competitive category.
Potolicchio’s squad, the only effort representing North or South America in the FIA WEC this year, has seen a reshuffle in its driver lineup, with Italians Paolo Ruberti and Gianluca Roda joining the Venezuelan owner/driver at the wheel of the orange-colored Ferrari F458 Italia.
“The driver rules this year are better for GTE-Am. That’s going to pay off this year, having the drivers we have,” Potolicchio told Sportscar365.
“I’m looking forward to doing the same job I’ve done for the last two years, which is run clean races, have no DNFs and just finishing the best we can everywhere. That’s what’s brought us championships twice already.”
The AF Corse-run squad scored class victories at Spa and Shanghai last year, which helped propel 8Star to the GTE-Am teams’ title. Potolicchio and 2013 co-driver Rui Aguas, however, missed out on the driver’ championship by a single point.
This time around, Potolicchio, the 2012 FIA WEC LMP2 drivers’ champion with Starworks Motorsport, is targeting both titles this year, despite realizing the level of competition they’re now up against in the class.
“I think GTE-Am has the best field in the WEC right now,” he said. “[The] LMP2 [car count] is decreasing but LMP1 is going to be nice. We’ll now have to be careful about six cars now, not only the two Audis and Toyotas.
“But they also know they need to finish races to win championships so I think they’ll be as smart as they can be. I’m just looking forward to doing our races and doing my job again.”
With Krohn Racing no longer part of the series, 8Star is the lone U.S. effort in the FIA WEC this year, something Potolicchio feels could be an advantage as the Florida-based team enters its second year of competition.
“Obviously we’re building a brand with our orange cars,” he said. “We need to be here in the WEC to give us an advantage over other American teams, with the amount of exposure.
“Definitely winning races and winning championships is going to help us for the future and that’s what we’re trying to build.”
As with many of the GTE-Am teams, 8Star has upgraded its car to 2013-spec, a package which didn’t prove to be the quickest in GTE-Pro last year, but the most dependable.
“The Ferrari is a proven, reliable car,” Potolicchio said. “It’s just driver mistakes that need to be handled. We have to be smart like we were last year. Roda and Ruberti are two new teammates for me but we did really well at Paul Ricard.
“I was personally happy with my effort and performance at Paul Ricard. We analyzed all of the splits and times from everybody else and the average of our three drivers is really good. We’ll see what happens here this weekend.”