ALTON, Va. (August 27, 2019) – AIM VASSER SULLIVAN (AVS) scored another top-10 result in Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). The No. 12 RC F GT3 finished seventh with co-drivers Townsend Bell and Frankie Montecalvo at the 17-turn, 3.27-mile Virginia road course.
Montecalvo qualified second in the No. 12 RC F GT3 but was hit by a competitor at the start of the race and had to pit early due to debris on the grille of the Lexus. Bell made up three spots during his driving time to finish seventh and give the No. 12 team their eighth top-10 in nine IMSA races this season.
Richard Heistand started the race third behind the wheel of the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3, holding onto that position until he turned over driving duties to Jack Hawksworth on Lap 24. Hawksworth moved into the second position shortly after and then made a pass for the lead on lap 45.
Hawksworth went on to lead six laps before an electrical issue forced the Lexus into the AVS pit multiple times for repairs. The issue eventually ended the driver duo’s day early on lap 64 (of 86) and they finished 13th.
Following VIR, Lexus fell to fourth in the overall GTD manufacturer championship standings and is second in the GTD Sprint Cup points with one sprint race remaining.
The AVS No. 14 Lexus is currently third in the GTD Sprint Cup driver standings and second in the team standings. They rank sixth in the overall GTD driver’s championship with two races remaining. Bell and Montecalvo are sixth in the Sprint Cup driver standings and fifth in the team points. In the overall championship standings, the No. 12 AVS driver duo currently ranks fourth.
AVS returns to racing action at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, September 15, where Lexus is the official luxury vehicle of the iconic Northern California circuit.
To stay up-to-date on all of the Lexus Racing action follow @lexusracingusa on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit www.lexus.com/motorsports.
AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Driver Quotes
JACK HAWKSWORTH, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
How was your race?
“It was a pretty gut-wrenching race. We had a good start. Richard (Heistand) got up to second, he ran third most of the stint and we were right there. He did a great job holding off the cars behind him. We pitted from third and the AIM VASSER SULLIVAN guys had a great stop. They did a great job changing the tires, which was difficult because the fueling wasn’t long since we had done a splash of fuel earlier in the race. The driver change was really good. I got out there and ran off a few fast laps, leapfrogged the guy in second, caught up to the back of the leader and then was able to get by into the lead. The Lexus RC F GT3 was working well and I thought we had a great chance to finish the job off, but unfortunately, we had an electrical issue, so we had to retire the car. It was a bit of a shame because we were looking great.”
RICHARD HEISTAND, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
What are your thoughts after today’s race?
“We came into this race needing a win if we wanted to do anything in the championship. I can’t recall being in a sporting situation where we had it, we did everything right, and then we had a small issue that took us out of contention. It looked like we had the win, we drove well and did well with the car to earn it and it was taken away. It was a hard day.”
TOWNSEND BELL, No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3
How was your race today?
“It was a tough race for us today. Frankie (Montecalvo) got pushed off the track by someone at the start and it damaged our car and then we just had to hang on from there. The AIM VASSER SULLIVAN guys did a good job keeping us on the lead lap. There will be better days ahead.”
FRANKIE MONTECALVO, No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3
What happened at the start of the race?
“We had a pretty unlucky start. I think going on the outside was completely fine and then we just got a big shot. I think the Porsche got together with us and that forced us outside and allowed everyone to get around us. Then, going through the top of the hill I don’t know if it was damage or just a little bit of cold tires from getting pushed out wide, but we ended up going off a little bit at the top of the esses. It is a high-speed section of the track causing a little floor damage, which may not have given us the best race car over a stint. I think the AIM VASSER SULLIVAN team did a phenomenal job calling a great race to get us back in there. Finishing P7 after a crazy start and a crazy run is not bad, so we’ll take those points and look for the next one.”