Race Team Looks for Success at Track Where Lexus Serves as Official Luxury Vehicle
SALINAS, Calif. (Sept. 13, 2019) – Lexus and AIM VASSER SULLIVAN (AVS) have just two races remaining on the 2019 schedule as they travel to the West Coast to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for Sunday’s two hour and 40-minute IMSA race.
Lexus is just five points behind the leader in the GTD Sprint Cup Manufacturer’s Championship standings going into the final sprint race of the season this weekend. Lexus’ successful run in the new GTD Sprint Cup is on the strength of six top-five finishes by AIM VASSER SULLIVAN (AVS) in seven sprint races this season, including back-to-back wins by AVS drivers, Jack Hawksworth and Richard Heistand, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Detroit’s Raceway at Belle Isle Park. Townsend Bell and Frankie Montecalvo also earned podium finishes in sprint races at Detroit and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
After nine races this season, the AVS Lexus RC F GT3 entries have combined to earn two wins, five podiums, nine top-fives and 14 top-10 results. Bell and Montecalvo currently sit fourth in the overall IMSA GTD championship standings, while Hawksworth and Heistand are sixth with two races remaining.
Along with the on-track competition, Lexus is celebrating its 30th anniversary as a brand this month and as part of its partnership with Laguna Seca as the official luxury vehicle, the manufacturer has planned unique experiences at the 11-turn, 2.238-mile Northern California road course for fans and Lexus owners during the race weekend.
The Lexus Racing Experience (LRE) activation display will be onsite in the IMSA paddock this weekend at Laguna Seca, featuring Lexus F performance vehicles and interactive experiences for fans to enjoy and learn about the Lexus brand. Fans can get an up-close look at a 2012 Lexus LFA exotic coupe that will be on display at LRE, as well as on the race track, during IMSA’s hot lap program.
The Lexus Owners Lounge debuts at Laguna Seca this weekend and will be located within the Lexus Racing Experience. This unique lounge is an exclusive experience for Lexus owners and their guests to relax, recharge and enjoy great views of the race circuit. Lexus owners will also enjoy a free, convenient parking area located onsite.
The ‘Lexus Performance Cafe’ will also be onsite at Laguna Seca and located at the Torque Show set in the IMSA paddock, where fans can enjoy a complimentary full-service espresso bar.
The Lexus GS F will lead the field to the green flag as the official pace car for Sunday’s IMSA race and there will be a familiar face waving the green flag as Hall of Fame racer, Scott Pruett, is set to serve as the Grand Marshal. Pruett is the winningest driver in IMSA history with 60 victories, including 22 wins in a Lexus-powered prototype for Chip Ganassi Racing from 2004 to 2009. The Lexus Brand Ambassador previously earned four podium finishes in a Lexus-powered Prototype at Laguna Seca, including a win in 2005 and a pole position in 2009.
Sunday’s IMSA race at Laguna Seca will be broadcast live on NBC, beginning at 3:00 p.m. EDT/12:00 p.m. PDT. The race action will also be live on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com. Fans can also follow Lexus Racing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by using #LexusRCF GT3, #LexusPerformance and #LexusRacing, and online at www.Lexus.com/Motorsports.
AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Driver Quotes
JACK HAWKSWORTH, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
Are you looking forward to getting back on track at Laguna Seca?
“I am really looking forward to the race in Laguna Seca, because this a special race to be driving a Lexus! The brand has a huge presence at the historic venue as the official luxury vehicle of the circuit and a Lexus production car will be leading us to the green flag. On top of this, Lexus will be celebrating their 30th anniversary as a brand during the race weekend. Our AIM VASSER SULLIVAN team will look to get the RC F GT3’s dialed in and hopefully get some great results to help celebrate Lexus’ 30th!”
RICHARD HEISTAND, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
What is your outlook for racing at Laguna Seca this weekend?
“Like many of the tracks on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar, it will be my first time back to Laguna Seca since 2006. It’s also where I took my racing school in early 2005 and got my first glimpse at what would become the greatest enjoyment of my life — racing! The fact that Lexus was introduced to its dealers in the same place is pretty cool. It’s clearly a special and nostalgic place for all of us.”
TOWNSEND BELL, No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3
Are you looking forward to racing at your home track in Northern California this weekend?
“There is no better time of year to enjoy the Central Coast than September. My home track is Laguna Seca. I turned my very first laps in a race car at Laguna, won the Indy Championship there, raced superbikes there, been an instructor there, snuck onto the pitlane as a kid there, got in trouble for all kinds of things there. It’s also the home track now for Lexus. With Lexus celebrating its 30th anniversary this month, I can’t help but think back to my first trip to a Lexus dealership as a 13-year-old growing up on the Central Coast. There was so much effort put into making the Lexus brand experience different back then and it’s impressive to see customers still ‘Experiencing Amazing’ 30 years later. That’s hard to do over three decades and requires vision, discipline and persistence. As a race team, we’ll be doing our best to demonstrate those qualities and get back to the top step this weekend. Somehow the sun’s a little brighter and the champagne’s a little tastier when you win at Laguna Seca.”
FRANKIE MONTECALVO, No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3
Do you enjoy racing at Laguna Seca?
“I absolutely love going back to Laguna every year. It is one of the most beautiful circuits we have the pleasure to race on in the United States. Laguna is one of those tracks that leaves you with a smile on your face after the very first lap. We are going into this weekend fourth in the points after some bad luck at VIR. We learned a lot after the last race, the Lexus RC F GT3 showed great pace and we plan on bringing all that to Laguna to fight for the championship.”