ALTON, Virginia (Aug. 19, 2018) – The 3GT Racing team finished with a win in the Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway when the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 crossed the finish line, driven by Dominik Baumann.
Kyle Marcelli qualified the No. 14 P4 and started the race. He drove one stint and came out P5 as Baumann took over. A clean pit stop allowed him to exit and hold the position. Baumann drove for two stints, but it was in the last 19 minutes of the race that he found himself in a position to take the lead.
“I was catching up to the 93 (Acura) and got by him because he made a mistake off (turn) three and then there were cars all over the place,” Baumann said. “Then I saw the Mercedes bumping into the Audi, so I took the opportunity and drove by them. I was just watching from behind and just watching how they struggled to stay on the track. That was the key to the win, just making no mistakes.”
This is the second win for the No. 14 team. Marcelli said the first win is always the hardest, but today he was feeling stressed watching his teammate push forward in those last laps.
“I was really stressed out in the closing laps in Mid-Ohio, where we had our first win. And today was a bit of a repeat, with the 86 (Katherine Legge in the Acura) right behind us. Dominik (Baumann) did a heck of a job and specially under pressure in those closing laps. The 58 (Patrick Long in the Porsche) helped us out battling with the 86. A great day for 3GT Racing and Lexus.”
Baumann said he saw Katherine Legge moving closer and closer in his mirror.
“She was getting bigger and bigger,” he said. “It was a bit like Mid-Ohio. We struggled a little bit with tire degradation on the rear tires and I was just trying to make no mistakes. You have to change your driving style from new tires compared to used tires. It’s very demanding to not make any mistakes. The limit is so small and I just tried to stay focused. She (Katherine Legge) made a mistake in the second to last lap so I had the gap again. Going out of (turn) 11, the ‘oak tree’, she was next to me and the only thing I had in my mind was, ‘You brake later. You brake later.’ And, that’s what I did. She backed off a little bit and I could do (turns) 13 and 14 and like the last three corners it’s impossible to overtake so from there we won the race.”
3GT Racing’s Technical Director John Gentilozzi called it an interesting race, adding that at times he thought there was a chance to win and at other times it seemed unlikely.
“When we got into the final stint and we were in the lead it was a bit of a surprise to see the seas part in front of us, so to speak,” he said. “Dominik drove really hard in that final stint. Maybe we used a little too much of our pace early on in the stint, and the Acura laid back. But we knew they weren’t done with us and we knew they were coming. Dominik kept his head on his shoulders, kept good pace, kept the car on the rack and we won. Regardless of how it happened, we’ll take it.”
Jack Hawksworth, in the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3, earned fastest lap in the GTD class, with a lap time of 1:45:110. Hawksworth, who won the pole in yesterday’s qualifying, started out in the lead and was in second when the driver change put David Heinemeier Hansson behind the wheel.
“My stint started awesome,” Heinemeier Hansson said. “We were in P2 when Jack pitted, and we came out in P2. I had a great a battle with Ben Keating (Mercedes No. 33) just out of the gate. Our car was looking really sharp. Then a couple of GTLMs came up on me – and they were clearly in a dog fight – so I tried to hang back but that wasn’t enough. Next thing I know, the BMW was flying like Dukes of Hazzard and took it out on me coming and around the corner. That kind of killed it.”
3GT Racing’s Managing Partner Paul Gentilozzi said he’s proud of the win and of the team.
“We’re proud of this program and the team that we put together” he said. “I said before we came here that we expect to win every race. There’s a lot of great teams in this series, a lot of great competition. We’ve put together the right chemistry of fuelers and tire changers and drivers and engineers and that’s what it takes. It takes time to develop and mature a team and we’re there. I’m honored to have another IMSA win and look forward to the next one.”
About 3GT Racing
3GT Racing was formed to race the Lexus RC F GT3. Owned and operated by five-time Trans-Am Series Champion, Paul Gentilozzi and his longtime partners, Tony and John Gentilozzi, the East Lansing, Michigan-based team principals have been involved in motorsports for more than 48 years and have claimed more than 75 victories and 15 manufacturer and driver championships.