SEBRING, Fla.—Racing is a team sport; occasionally it is also a family activity.
The three Downs brothers, Matt, Antonio, and Lucas, have been racing together for most of their lives, driving (and winning) for Eurosport Racing’s championship-winning IMSA Prototypes Lites team for the past several years.
This season the three brothers are stepping up to the top tier of North American sports car racing, the American Le Mans Series, where they will drive an Oreca FLM09 for 2011 LMPC champs Core Autosport.
This is a huge step for the trio. After years of racing in a support series (albeit the fastest support series,) the brothers will now be driving at the 60th Anniversary 12 Hours of Sebring, racing wheel-to-wheel with the biggest teams and fastest drivers on the planet.
The three came to Sebring International Raceway to take their first drives with the new team and car at the American Le Mans Series Winter Test, Feb. 8–9.
Born to Race
The trio really had no option but to drive racecars; their father, Dick Downs, raced with Eurosport for 25 years.
“We watched our dad racing growing up,” Lucas explained. “We’d go to Road America or other area tracks with the SCCA (Sports car Club of America.) He raced with a number of teams and found his way to Eurosport. He enjoyed racing with them so that’s how we evolved with them.”
Despite sharing their passion for racing, the three brothers don’t look or act at alike at all. Lucas, the youngest, seems focused and businesslike; Antonio, the middle brother, is quieter, and Matt, the eldest, seems to be the joker of the family.
Matt drove fewer races than his brothers in 2011, finishing out of the top 20, while Antonio finished second and Lucas, seventh. He doesn’t plan to do a lot of Lites races in 2012, either. The three brothers would much rather focus on driving for Core in the ALMS.
“I doubt we’ll…