DAYTONA, Fla. (January 24, 2018) — The 2018 IMSA season opener this weekend, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, marks the second year of 3GT Racing fielding two Lexus RC F GT3 in the GTD class.
The 2017 inaugural year was a time for learning. It began with last year’s Rolex – an arduous 24 hours – but by the season’s end, the team had amassed multiple fastest laps and the first pole, for the No. 14, at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
“We are excited to be back here at Daytona with the Lexus RC F GT3 during the tenth year of the Lexus F Performance brand,” said Paul Gentilozzi, 3GT Racing’s Managing Partner. “We really learned a lot last time we were here, and we feel like we can improve it by taking those lessons on-board. We’re really happy with the driver line-up that we have, and we really think they give us the best chance to win.”
Returning for 2018, are drivers Jack Hawksworth and veteran sports car champion, Scott Pruett. The Hall of Famer, who has been racing for 50 years, announced at The Roar Before the 24 earlier this month, that the 2018 Rolex would be his last race.
“When I look at where we were a year ago, and where we were this year – when we were at The Roar a couple of weeks ago – well, it’s like night and day,” Pruett said. “We have learned so much about the car over the last season. We knew going into The Rolex last year that it was our first race and we had so much to learn. It was a steep learning curve. Now we are significantly more prepared and have more understanding for this race. And I’m excited for this race. I have so many great achievements and great memories there. What better race to call my last race, than this one.”
Hawksworth said Pruett has been a great teammate and he’s learned a lot from him. As the 2018 season kicks off, Hawksworth is looking forward to getting to know the new drivers and he’s focused on a winning year.
“It’s nice to be going back for a second year with 3GT and with the Lexus RC F GT3. So far, the prep for the race has been very smooth and we’re happy with what we learned at The Roar,” Hawksworth said. “As for the drivers, the only guys I’ve worked with before are Scott Pruett, Dominik Farnbacher and I’ve done some races with Bruno Junqueira. The new guys all seem great. Now, it’s just about getting used to how we work together.”
Hawksworth’s co-pilot in the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 will be David Heinemeier Hansson. Heinemeier Hansson is no stranger to the Gentilozzi family race team, he raced with them in 2013 and 2014. He is well known in the racing community. He earned 20 podiums and six wins in 45 FIA World Endurance Championship races, and four podiums and a class win in Le Mans.
Dominik Farnbacher will round out the No. 15 team, returning this year as an endurance driver in The Rolex and the other additional endurance races; 12 Hours of Sebring, Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen and the Petit Le Mans. Farnbacher, alongside his brother, Mario, drove the Lexus RC F GT3 in the International GT Open in 2017, earning two wins and five podiums in 17 races.
Philipp Frommenwiler of Switzerland also drove the Lexus RC F GT3 in the International GT Open, earning third place in the Drivers’ Championship and third place overall. In 2017, with the Emil Frey Racing team, Frommenwiler finished first overall in the GT Open at SPA and Estoril. Frommenwiler joins the 3GT Racing team as an endurance driver in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 alongside eight-time IndyCar race winner Bruno Junqueira, of Brazil. Junqueira has 26 wins in his long career.
The No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 will be co-piloted by Canadian Kyle Marcelli and Dominik Baumann of Austria. Both drivers took their first laps in the Lexus RC F GT3 during The Roar Before the 24, last month at Daytona International Speedway. Bauman earned the fastest lap during the night test at The Roar.
Earlier this month, Baumann, the 2016 Blancpain GT series champion, took first in class at the 24H Dubai race. He said he’s looking forward to The Rolex and believes he got a good sense of the car while at The Roar and that the 24H Dubai gave him a good idea of what it takes to drive a 24-hour endurance race.
“I really liked the feel of the Lexus at The Roar,” he said. “It was easy to understand. And I think the first place in the night practice showed how quickly I got used to the car. The 24 hours in Dubai really helped me get used to a 24-hour schedule. I think I’m ready for Daytona.”
Hawksworth said he knows the team is in a much better position now than last year at this time.
“It was our first race last year and everything was an unknown,” he said. “We didn’t know how reliable the car was. This year we expect to have much better performance. We’ve done many long-distance races, more testing, more miles with the car and the chemistry with the engineers, mechanics and crew is in place. We work like a well-oiled machine.”
The Rolex 24 at Daytona race will begin with the fall of the green flag at 2:40 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27. The race will be telecast on Fox stations including FS1, FS2 and the full race will be available on the Fox Sports GO app.
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 47 years and have claimed more than 75 victories and 15 manufacturer and driver championships.
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