Lexus RC F GT3 Scores Second-Place Podium Finish in Petit Le Mans

Lexus RC F GT3 Scores Second-Place Podium Finish in Petit Le Mans

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AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Earns Runner-Up Result at Road Atlanta, Takes Points Lead

BRASELTON, Ga. (October 19, 2020) – The AIM VASSER SULLIVAN (AVS) No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 scored a second-place podium result in Saturday’s Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The podium finish by drivers Jack Hawksworth, Aaron Telitz and Michael de Quesada gives Lexus and the No. 14 RC F GT3 the overall IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD points lead with two races remaining.

The No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 drivers combined to lead 57 laps around the 12 turn, 2.54-mile road course. After falling a lap down two hours into the race, the AVS No. 14 team used pit strategy and a hard-fought battle to get back on the lead lap with Hawksworth and Telitz splitting time running in the top five during the second half of the race. The No. 14 takes the GTD overall championship points lead by two points on the strength of five podium finishes, including three wins this season.

Townsend Bell, Frankie Montecalvo and newcomer Kyle Kirkwood finished in eighth place in the No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3 after running within the top-five during much of the 10-hour endurance event, including leading 45 laps at the front of the GTD class. However, an on-track incident with less than 10 minutes remaining caused the No. 12 to take a hard hit and they dropped to an eighth-place result.

AVS has scored four wins, seven podium finishes and five pole positions in nine IMSA races this season. Lexus increases its lead in the overall manufacturer point standings to nine points over Acura with two races remaining.  The No. 14 leads the overall GTD championship points, while the No. 12 sits fourth in the GTD standings with races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and Sebring International Raceway to close out the 2020 season.

Lexus and AIM VASSER SULLIVAN compete next in the final sprint race of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, November 1. For all of the racing action, follow Lexus Racing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by using #LexusRCF GT3, #LexusPerformance and #LexusRacing.

How does it feel to finish second in the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta?
“It was an awesome day. To finish second at Petit Le Mans is amazing. I’ve been here so many times and this is my first time on the podium here. I’m absolutely delighted. Points-wise it couldn’t have gone any better. Aaron (Telitz) and Michael (de Quesada) did a great job all day. Aaron was an animal on those restarts towards the end, so he got us the track position. The AIM VASSER SULLIVAN team had a great strategy on the pit wall that got us the track position and that’s what we needed. We didn’t really have the straight-line speed to overtake in the Lexus RC F GT3, but if we were in position, we could hold it and that’s exactly what we needed. I’m pumped — bring on Laguna Seca.”

How does it feel to earn a second-place podium finish after 10 hours of racing at Road Atlanta?
“A great day for us here at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The AIM VASSER SULLIVAN team put our Lexus RC F GT3 on the podium. A little bit of adversity at the start, but we managed to come back from a lap down, get the lead even at times but we didn’t have anything for that 63 Ferrari. Second place is a great result here and we’ll take it. That’s my second podium in an endurance race.”

How was your race today?
“It was an interesting day for sure. It was definitely a trying race. It’s a 10-hour race so at the end of the day it’s just about keeping the car healthy. I guess we sort of managed to do that. We had slight contact with the Acura early in the race, but managed to not do too much harm to it. Hats off to Jack (Hawksworth) and Aaron (Telitz). They brought us up front and they finished the job. I’m happy with a P2 finish any day of the week.”

Are you okay after the hard hit at the end of tonight’s race?
“Frankie (Montecalvo) did a great job qualifying the Lexus RC F GT3 and both he and Kyle (Kirkwood) drove a phenomenal race. You have to remember this is the first time Kyle has ever raced the Lexus RC F GT3 and driven that many hours. I’m super proud of both of them and everyone at AIM VASSER SULLIVAN. Unfortunately, we were in a position to get a podium finish and I got hit. I’m physically okay but very frustrated. We’ll just have to go out there and get a good result at Laguna Seca.”

How was your race today?
“It was a great team effort here tonight at Road Atlanta. I’m happy for the 14 car to get a podium. It was a crazy race out there, but my teammates Kyle (Kirkwood) and Townsend (Bell) did a phenomenal job. I thought we had a podium there at the end, but we just didn’t have it. A little contact put us in the wall so it’s a shame. On to Laguna Seca.”

How was your first experience in the Lexus RC F GT3?
“That’s not the way we wanted to end it here after 10 hours of racing, but the AIM VASSER SULLIVAN did a phenomenal job. Our pit stops were incredible and every time we made a pit stop, we got back almost to the top and probably to the top a couple times. This was the longest race I’ve ever done. I was in the Lexus RC F GT3 for four and a half hours. That’s double the time that I’ve ever driven in a car in my life. It was incredible. I’m really proud of what the team could do and what I could do testing my limits. It’s unfortunate the way it ended, but we showed true pace and could’ve definitely had a podium tonight.”

The No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3 finished eighth in Saturday’s 10-hour endurance race at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta with drivers Townsend Bell, Frankie Montecalvo and Kyle Kirkwood.

The No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 currently leads the GTD overall championship standings by two points with two IMSA races remaining.

Aaron Telitz (left), Jack Hawksworth (center) and Michael de Quesada (right) scored a second-place podium finish in Saturday’s 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

Sam Mahoney
[email protected]

Pam Jansen
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