Scott Tucker is a racing driver from the United States who has started racing career very late but still had relatively notable results. He's a four-time American Le Mans Series champion, winning the LMPC class in 2010 and LMP2 class three years in a row from 2011 to 2013.
His racing career ended in 2015. In 2016, he was arrested and then, in January 2018, he has been sentenced to 16 years and eight months in prison for crimes related to his payday lending business. It isn't his first conviction.
Imprisoned after petty scams
Tucker was born in Kansas City on May 5, 1962 and before he stepped into the world of racing who was a quite successful businessman. After graduating from Kansas State University, he spent a year in the prison after mail fraud and false statements made to a bank in 1991.
He invested in various businesses, from real estate to internet technology and energy, but later he was arrested because of illegal lending practices that exploited millions of poor people. It could be said that he became a champion with funds from an unscrupulous group of payday lending business.
Late start of the racing career
Anyway, he decided to start racing career in 2006, probably falling into midlife crisis. From the start of his career, Tucker did relatively well. He debuted in Ferrari Challenge series, finishing third in North American group at World finals at Monza. In the SCCA championship, Scott Tucker won the race at Texas Motor Speedway.
In his sophomore season in Ferrari Challenge, Tucker claimed first race win, at Sonoma Raceway. At the same time, Tuckered entered selected events of 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, but the results weren’t especially good, just as in the SCCA series.
Foundation of Level 5 Motorsport in 2008
For the season of 2008, Scott Tucker formed his own team, Level 5 Motorsports which has competed in Ferrari Challenge. As a driver and team owner, Tucker won six of 13 races in North America and finished as a runner-up in the championship while at the World finals at Mugello Circuit, he won both final races of Nort American group.
With Level 5 Motorsports, Tucker also was present in 2008 Rolex Sports Cars Series and debuted at 24 Hours of Daytona, but the results still were far from expectations. Things were better in SCCA. Driving a Ferrari 360, Tucker set track record at La Junta in Colorado and finished third in the runoffs in Topeka.
Ferrari Challenge record holder
In the 2009 campaign, wealthy racer set new standards in Ferrari Challenge, winning 10 races in a season what was a new record. His team Boardwalk Ferrari easily won the Dealership’s Championship, too. In the SCCA, Tucker became a Runoffs title holder winning the race at Road America in Wisconsin, driving a Ferrari 430 Challenge. Scott defended his crown in 2010 and won it twice more in 2011 and 2012, driving a Porsche 996.
Famous names in the team
For the year of 2010, Tucker and his teams expanded to more competitions. Ferrari Challenge wasn’t interesting anymore while the priority became Rolex Sports Car Series. For the 24 Hours of Daytona, Tucker engaged some famous names like Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Lucas Luhr and Emmanuel Collard. The team finished third overall and their appearance in the race was filmed for a documentary movie.
Success in American Le Mans Series
The same year, Scott Tucker debuted in American Le Mans Series, driving in Le Mans Prototype Challenge Class. The success was imminent as he won 12 Hours of Sebring and later also became a winner of the races at Laguna Seca, Miller Motorsports Park, and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. He became a class champion and was named Rookie of the Year at the age of 48.
At 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans, Tucker’s Level 5 Motorsport united its forces with Kolles, driving an Audi R10 TDI, but retired from the race on lap 182.
Third place in LMP2 class at 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours
The following year American Le Mans Series was the priority for Tucker and Level 5. With a new Lola-Honda prototype, Tucker again won 12 Hours of Sebring but the competition level in his ALMS class was low, so the team switched focus at International Le Mans Cup races in Europe.
At 24 Hours of Le Mans, Tucker shared a driving seat with Christophe Bouchut and Joao Barbosa, to finish 3rd in an LMP2 class and 10th overall. That was Tucker’s best result at Le Mans after he failed to finish the race in the following two attempts in 2012 and 2013.
Tucker had a perfect season in 2012, competing in American Le Mans Series P2 class. Taking a total of eight wins, including 12 Hours of Sebring, he easily won the title driving a new HPD ARX-03 Prototype. In 2013, Scott Tucker became one of four drivers who won at Sebring four times in-a-row. The same year he also scored his fourth victory at Petit Le Mans and without too much effort defended his ALMS P2 title, winning eight of 10 races.
Interestingly, in 2014 Tucker returned to Ferrari Challenge and won the opening race at Daytona. At the same time, he also won a class race at 24 Hours of Daytona, driving a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3.
The money lender finally reeled in after payday lending operation scam
His racing triumphs were anguished with the problems he had in business. in 2012, Tucker was accused of being engaged in illegal business tactics but later was acquitted. That wasn’t the end of problems for Tucker who was arrested in 2016 for the various criminal misdemeanors. In January 2018, he has been sentenced to 16 years and eight months in prison.