Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach – Streets of Long Beach – April 8, 2017

Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach – Streets of Long Beach – April 8, 2017

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  • 3GT Racing’s No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 finished sixth in the GTD class (18th overall) at the Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach Saturday. Scott Pruett and Sage Karam co-piloted the No. 14 Lexus entry in the manufacturer’s third race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
  • The No. 14 Lexus started the race 14th in class (32nd overall) after missing Friday’s GTD qualifying session due to damage sustained in the first practice.  
  • Karam turned the fastest lap in the No. 14 Lexus with a time of 1:21.037 (lap 26) around the 11-turn street circuit.
  • The 3GT Racing No. 15 Lexus entry finished 11th in class (24th overall) in the 100-minute race around the streets of Long Beach after starting second in class (20th overall).
  • Jack Hawksworth led five laps in the No. 15 Lexus before turning over driving duties to teammate Robert Alon, who was involved in an accident on the final circuit of the race. 
  • Hawksworth posted the quickest lap in the No. 15 RC F GT3 with a time of 1:20.594 (lap 20).

Lexus Racing Quotes
SAGE KARAM, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
Can you talk about what happened on the final laps of the race?
“It was like the last four laps I was battling with the Acura pretty good. We made contact five or six times but it was just light and it wasn’t going to take anybody out of the race – just rubbing a little bit. We were racing each other hard and clean at the same time. I respect Andy (Lally) for the way he raced me. He could’ve done a lot worse, but that was good. On the last lap I came to the hair pin and there was a big jam and I guess our sister car, the 15 (Robert Alon), got in an accident up there. I went through and the safety guy was just casually waving the yellow flag and I didn’t know how bad it was. I didn’t know where the cars were and it was on the outside and I didn’t have enough steering to get through, so I ended up running into the back of Rob (Alon). Then the Acura runs into the back of me and pushes me over Rob and I kept going and that’s how we got to the finish. If I didn’t get hit, I probably would’ve been in that jam as well. Overall sixth place is a good result for the team so we’ll take it and move on to Texas.”
How much confidence does this finish give your team?
“This finish shows a lot about the team. To have a car where we had to change an engine and fix a frame, that’s no small task and for them to just work all night until two in the morning to get the car together. They thrash hard and they got us out there for valuable points. The car wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t exactly where it needed to be, but without their hard work and dedication to get it out on the track we wouldn’t have got these valuable points. So, hats off to the team. I’ve also just got to thank Lexus for everything. It’s a great operation and it’s only going up so I can’t wait to see what it brings in the future.”
What does it say about your team to rebuild your Lexus RC F GT3 and come back to finish sixth today?
“I couldn’t be more proud. One, this is Lexus’ backyard and all the excitement that goes with that. For a car that was tore up that we missed the second practice, missed qualifying and the guys just did a terrific job. I’m real proud of all of the 3GT Racing guys, TRD (Toyota Racing Development), TTC (Toyota Technocraft) and everybody pulling together because that RC F GT3 was tore up a bit. We got it back out there. It wasn’t perfect but to come home sixth and get the recovery we did was awesome.”
What was the racing like out there today with it being the first time here for the GTD class?
“It was crazy with all of the stuff going on — cars going everywhere and people going everywhere. You’re racing the guy in front of you, you’re looking in your mirrors, it was insane. Unfortunately there were a lot more yellows and carnage than I think we would’ve wanted to see out there. That’s racing, that’s part of Long Beach.”
Can you talk about your race today?
“It was a bittersweet day. It was a sweet start. We obviously qualified well and really the start we were looking for in the race which was going to run more green (flag). If we had more green that was going to work out better for us because I would’ve stayed in the car for a long time and Robert (Alon) could’ve had a bigger cushion when he got in the RC F GT3 with some kind of clean track if you will. That was the strategy, but a lot of yellow (flags) at the beginning of the race. It still worked out well because with that last restart I was able to get a really, really good jump and pull out a decent gap. We then had a hiccup on the pit stop and instead of coming out in the lead or in second we came out behind. From there Robert did a really nice job all race and then there was that incident there at the end that ruled us out. I thought we were going to get a top five or top six and that would’ve been great, but it’s racing. Robert was going for it and these things happen. The thing is we had a quick car again for the second race in a row and it’s just agonizing when you’ve got a great Lexus RC F GT3 and everything is working well and we didn’t get a good result. We’ve just got to put this behind us and take the positives and put together a really good weekend in Texas and finally get the result. Happy for the other car to score some good points and come out of nowhere.”
JEFF BRACKEN, group VP and general manager, Lexus Division
How would you assess the Lexus Racing performance after the first three races of the season?
“From our standpoint, this is our third race with the Lexus RC F GT3. It was a decade ago that we had stopped racing and now we’re back into it, so to kind of have jumped into the deep end with Daytona and Sebring and now here at Long Beach to get a sixth-place finish and have the other RC F GT3 start on the front row and lead laps we feel really, really good about that. And, of course, we look forward to COTA where we expect to do even better.”

Golin for Lexus Racing
Pam Jansen
[email protected]


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