Former Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Christophe Bouchut returned to Daytona International Speedway during testing this week with Level 5 Motorsports, partnering regular drivers Ed Zabinski and Scott Tucker in a brand-new #55 BMW Riley.
The Frenchman, competing in his first major American event, scored the overall victory in the 1995 enduro, joining Jurgen Lassig, Giovanni Lavaggi and Marco Werner in the Kremer Porsche K8 Spyder.
The Rolex 24 victory made Bouchut two-for-two in 24-hour competition. He won in his first 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving for Team Peugeot. Since then, he's triumphed in the 24 Hours of Spa-Franchorchamps in Belgium twice (2001 and 2002), emerging victorious in his first two attempts at that event.
In his only race at Daytona since then, Bouchut finished third in the 1998 Rolex 24, co-driving with team Larbre, and he was joined this week by factory Riley driver Marc Goossens.
The 42-year-old brushed a tyre barrier after encountering a pedal problem in the early laps on Tuesday morning. The car sustained minor damage, and the team made repairs and sent the car back out for several laps.
“It's great to be back here in the USA, especially in Daytona,” he enthused. “It's a special track with the banking, and it's always nice, great weather.
“The DP car is really nice, and I believe the Grand-Am championship has a great future. I'm really happy to be back here.”
Bouchut has 95 victories and 77 pole positions in his career. He is the only driver to capture the FIA GT title three times, and won the prestigious Porsche Cup four times. He has six titles in the French GT championship and one in the European Le Mans Series. Most recently, Bouchut won the 2008 French GGSA GT championship.
Level 5 ran selected Rolex Series races in 2008, with Zabinski and Tucker co-driving a Crawford-built Ferrari in GT competition. Rather than continue a development project, the team felt it could achieve better success in a proven car in the Daytona Prototypes.