Karam Registers First Pole for RC F GT3 … Sage Karam earned the first GTD class pole for Lexus in the 3GT Racing No. 14 RC F GT3, with a track record pace at the last IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. The 22-year-old led the GTD class for 35 laps (of 122) during the race, and he and co-driver Scott Pruett finished fifth in GTD. Along with Karam’s fastest lap of the race weekend, Jack Hawksworth piloted the No. 15 RC F GT3 to the second-quickest lap in Canada during the warm-up session, and then the third-fastest time of the race later that day. The 26-year-old Englishman turned the quickest lap of the race at Watkins Glen International in early July.
Lexus Lime Rock Debut … Lexus will make its Lime Rock Park debut this weekend in the eighth-of-12 events on IMSA’s GTD schedule this year – the inaugural season of the RC F GT3 competing in GT racing. Although Lexus is new to Lime Rock, 3GT Racing’s drivers have experience around the 1.474-mile Connecticut track. Sage Karam won a race, earned two pole positions and set a single-lap track record all in the same weekend — competing in the Skip Barber National Series there in October 2009 at just 14 years old. The Nazareth, Pennsylvania-native considers Lime Rock one of two home tracks on the IMSA schedule with its location of approximately 160 miles from his hometown. Karam’s teammate Scott Pruett is also victorious at Lime Rock, winning the Trans-Am race there in 1988. Pruett has also competed in IMSA races at Lime Rock with a best finish of third in 2013 in the Prototype class. Robert Alon made one start at Lime Rock, finishing runner-up in the Prototype Challenge class there last year, while his teammate Jack Hawksworth will make his first start there this weekend.
In the Pit with 3GT Racing … The Motor Trend ‘In the Pit with 3GT Racing’ six-part digital series recently debuted, following the four full-time 3GT Racing drivers in their first season — competing behind the wheel of the Lexus RC F GT3 in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTD class. The editorial piece appears on the Motor Trend YouTube channel, as well as Motortrend.com, and not only showcases their performance in the new Lexus RC F GT3, but also gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the drivers’ lives and interests away from the track. The first-of-six episodes focuses on the drivers for 3GT Racing, and features Robert Alon and his interest in snowboarding and surfing. The second episode will feature 22-year-old Sage Karam.
Winning Off the Track … Many technologies from Lexus’ racing initiatives transferred to their production cars, including carbon fiber roofs, suspension design and vehicle handling characteristics. So far, in 2017, total Lexus high performance vehicle sales (GS F and RC F) have exceeded 500. In addition to these models, many other Lexus vehicles offer F SPORT versions with enhanced bold styling and handling agility, which are inspired by Lexus’ racing efforts, and more than 20,000 F SPORT versions have been sold since January. The Lexus LC, the manufacturer’s world-class luxury coupe with a 10-speed transmission, debuted in dealerships across the country in May.
Keeping Pace with Lexus … Fans can keep up with Lexus Racing on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter by using #LexusRCF GT3, #LexusPerformance and #LexusRacing, and online at www.Lexus.com/Motorsports.
Lexus Racing Quotes
SAGE KARAM, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
Do you enjoy racing at Lime Rock Park?
“It’s a cool track – it’s a little track. Obviously being in Connecticut, it’s not too far away from Pennsylvania, so in a way Lime Rock and Watkins Glen are my two close ones that I consider home tracks. I’ll be excited to go to Lime Rock. I haven’t been there in a while. I’ve always loved that track. I raced there at Skip Barber back when I was really young and I actually held the track record for a while. I haven’t been back since.”
What makes Lime Rock such a unique track?
“It’s only got one or two left-handers so it’s like a reverse oval. It’s a cool track because it’s got some really fast corners, it’s got the slowest chicane. My favorite corner at Lime Rock is the last corner coming down the hill to come to the start-finish. It’s got a lot of character – that track has been around for a bit. I’ve done a lot of simulation work on it and I’m excited to get back there. Obviously, it’s probably one of my three or four top favorite tracks we go to this year.”
SCOTT PRUETT, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
Are you looking forward to racing at Lime Rock?
“Lime Rock is always bittersweet. The last time I was there, it was sweet. We wrapped up a championship and I had a lot of fun. In the previous year, we got fenced just coming out of Turn 1 and it had an absolute miserable race. I love going out there. It’s a fast track. Fast as lap times are very low, the track is very short, the speeds in most of the turns are quite high and it’s very unique. The other thing that’s going to be enjoyable is it’s just going to be us and the GTLM’s, so we’re not going to be dealing with as much traffic with Prototypes as we do for every other race we do this season.”
What makes Lime Rock such a unique track?
“It’s short and it’s a little uphill, downhill and it has predominantly all right hand turns. One left-hand turn and a little bit of an easy second left-hand turn – kind of a throwaway turn – but the majority of the track is all right hand turns and you need to focus your setup on that. When you get the balance right its fun and it’s fast. It could be considered like our Bristol to put it into NASCAR terms. It’s short, it’s a bit of a bullring, a lot of contact and a lot of hard racing and the lap times are quite short – the shortest of any race we go to.”
ROBERT ALON, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
What was your experience like racing at Lime Rock last year?
“Last year was my first year racing at Lime Rock and took to that track pretty well. I immediately loved it. I think it’s that it’s not too complicated of a track and you can just focus on racing. The things that surprised me at Lime Rock was even though there are only those few corners, each one is technical in its own way. It’s not an easy track by any means, but you can get in a rhythm pretty quickly and once you get in a rhythm you just go and race and you don’t have to think too much about this corner or that corner.”
What is your outlook in the Lexus RC F GT3 this weekend?
“I feel good. I think once again it’s another track that suits our Lexus pretty well. It’s high speed corners and just a fast track overall. I’m really excited to be heading there with this team and the Lexus RC F GT3 – I think we have a good shot. We won’t have to worry about traffic passing as much and it will be more like a normal sprint race where the GTLM’s will be coming through, but it will just be a lot of good racing which is nice for a change.”
JACK HAWKSWORTH, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
What is your outlook for racing at Lime Rock in the Lexus RC F GT3?
“I’ve never been to Lime Rock, so it’s a new surface for me. Lime Rock looks like fun – a little bullring. There’s only about four corners, so don’t think it looks too hard to learn, but obviously I think connecting in all four or five of those corners for the perfect lap will be important in qualifying and then throughout the race the traffic management. It’s a very small circuit and about a 54 second lap in a GT car, so there’s going to be a lot of traffic. Rarely are you going to ever have a lap on your own, so I think an understanding the traffic and understanding how to play things will be very important at the race.”
What will the racing be like at Lime Rock with only GT cars?
“In some ways it will be nicer without the Prototypes out there because we’ll have less traffic lapping us, but at the same time because the track is so small the GTLM’s will be coming after us pretty fast as well. They’re actually more difficult to deal with than the Prototypes because the Prototypes have a lot of straight-line speed and the GTLM’s don’t, so they have to pass you in the corner and it costs you more time. I expect traffic conditions to be very difficult just as they are at every race due to the fact that the track is so small I don’t think it makes much of a difference.”
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