Just the Right Amount of F
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EAST LANSING, Michigan (February 19, 2016) — F Performance Racing in East Lansing, Michigan has added two motorsports veterans, Robin Hill and John Dick, to the team as they prepare to campaign the Lexus RC F GT3 in the IMSA Weather Tech Sports Car Championship series.
Paul Gentilozzi said, “Having John and Robin join our team was an essential ingredient to success. Their experience and character combined with our team’s chemistry accelerates us to our goal, the goal of winning races then Championships for Lexus.”
New Team Manager, Robin Hill, comes to F Performance from Extreme Speed Motorsports, where he was Director of Operations.
Born in Australia, Hill’s 35-plus year career includes numerous championships and his experience ranges from open wheel to sports car racing. Raised in London, England, Hill began racing in Europe and worked in the F2 series for several years. He came to the United States in 1985 working with Jeff Andretti in the Super Vee and Indy Lights series and with Rahal-Hogan Racing from 1992 to 1996. The team won the CART Championship in 1992.
In 1996, Hill joined Target Chip Ganassi Racing where, as Team Manager, he was awarded Snap-On Tools Crew Chief of the Year Award in 1997 and 1998, and the Jim McGee Award of Excellence in 1997. During his tenure, the team won CART Championships from 1996 to 1999 and the Indy 500 Championship in 2000. Highcroft Racing, where Hill became manager in 2006, won championships in ’09 and ’10.
Hill said he was happy to take Gentilozzi’s call in late 2015 to discuss the idea.
“I know Paul’s organizations are always professional and competitively run. We talked and it really sparked an interest,” he said. “I’m happy to be here with F Performance Racing and with this team. I have great respect for the Lexus program and I truly believe we are going to be competitive.”
John Dick, Race Engineer, has been involved in racing since he was a young teen in Arizona. His professional racing career began in 1980 with Dennis Mecum Racing where he worked as an engineer and fabricator co-designing and building the first Ford Mustang to enter Trans-Am Racing since the end of the factory era in 1970. With Tom Gloy driving, the car won two races in its first season
Dick left Trans-Am racing in 1985 and became Team Manager and Designer for Phil Conte Racing in the IMSA series. In 1986, he met Scott Pruett while working as Race Engineer for Jack Roush Racing. For the next several years, Dick’s racing experience took him through CART racing, Champ Car and NASCAR.
Since 2002, Dick worked on Indy Car racing teams Dreyer Reinbold Racing, KV Racing, Dayle Coyne Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and most recently as Technical Director and Race Engineer for Bryan Herta Autosports.
“Indy racing had become so restricted. I’m really happy to be with F Performance Racing. I like the challenge of engineering and building prototype GT cars like the Lexus RC F GT3 – that’s where the creativity for an engineer really is. The Gentilozzi family effort in this program gives me just such a platform, I am also happy to be working with Scott Pruett again. He has always been one of my favorite drivers, to be able to engineer a car and work with Scott again, that seems really challenging in a good way. I’m very excited about this opportunity.”
Both Hill and Dick are working closely with the F Performance Racing team to prepare the Lexus RC F GT3 for the homologation process and for competition. After extensive testing and engineering analysis the plan is to be racing in the IMSA Weather Tech SportsCar Championship series through 2018.
ABOUT F PERFORMANCE RACING
F Performance Racing was formed in 2015, with the return of luxury brand Lexus to motorsports racing, to race 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 45 years.
Lexus to Compete in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and F Performance Racing Announces Sage Karam as Driver
TORRANCE, CA – January 29, 2016 – Lexus and their F Performance Racing group have reached an agreement with the International Motor Sports Association to campaign the RC F GT3 in the IMSA Weather Tech SportsCar Championship. The agreement gives the Japanese Luxury automaker a presence in GT Daytona (GTD) class the race series through the 2018 season.
“We are excited to reach this agreement with IMSA to campaign the RC F GT3 at such a high level. Our hope is to build a strong foundation for the new F Performance Racing organization during 2016 season, seizing the opportunity to develop the team and the race vehicle in anticipation of the multi-car effort during the 2017 season,” said Jeff Bracken Group Vice President and General Manager, Lexus division.
Additionally, F Performance Racing also announced that Sage Karam will join veteran racer Scott Pruett as drivers for F Performance Racing when the East Lansing, Michigan-based team campaigns the Lexus RC F GT3 for a limited schedule in the 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
“We have had our eye on Sage for some time,” said Paul Gentilozzi, Managing Partner of F Performance Racing. “His experience in IMSA events with Scott at Daytona and Sebring showed us great maturity. Our program is a building experience, and having Scott Pruett as a teammate/mentor is really a priceless commodity. I am sure Sage will fit in with our group and help us get a first victory for Lexus and F Performance Racing.”
Both drivers were previously contracted with Chip Ganassi. Pruett announced his plan to race with Lexus and F Performance in November, the same time the luxury brand declared its return to motorsports racing for the first time since 2009.
The 20-year-old Karam, released from his contract with Ganassi in December, said he’s thrilled about this new opportunity and to be teammates with Pruett.
“I’m really excited to be a part of the F Performance Team, it’s a great opportunity for me,” Karam said. “I have worked alongside Scott Pruett for a few years so we have a good relationship and I’m really looking forward to driving alongside him. We like to work with each other and we push each other to each other’s limits.”
“When I was racing, it can be said I was not very concerned about making friends during competition—winning was our first priority,” said Gentilozzi. “That said, I learned how to temper aggression with strategy on our way to championships, and that is something we hope to share with Sage.”
Pruett is looking forward to working with Karam again.
“I am very excited to have Sage as part of F Performance Racing,” Pruett said. “I had the opportunity to race with him a couple of times at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, as well as the IMSA race at Indianapolis, where he did a fabulous job. He’s a great young American talent and I couldn’t be more excited to have him as my teammate for 2016.”
Pruett and Gentilozzi have known each other personally and professionally for nearly 30 years. “Scott and I have won Daytona together twice as teammates,” Gentilozzi said. “He won a Trans-Am championship driving for me. I was his first drive back after he got injured in Indy cars (in 1990). We’ve just always had a close and trusted relationship. There aren’t many relationships in motorsports that you can count on for 30 years.
When it came time for Scott to accept another challenge, I couldn’t think of a better guy to do it with.”
F Performance Racing is working closely with Lexus to prepare the car for the homologation process and for competition.
“IMSA has given us a small window to bring the safety and performance of the car to a level commensurate with the competition in the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series,” said John Gentilozzi, F Performance Racing Technical director.
“Lexus is determined to enhance its performance globally,” Gentilozzi said. “They make great cars that have a high performance ability and they really needed to authenticate that by competing in motorsports. That’s a fact around the world. You can talk about how your car performs but the public really requires you to authenticate that.” The multi-year commitment by Lexus to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series will demonstrate the performance capabilities of the RCF GT3, which will eventually be made available to other competitors as a customer racing program.
Gentilozzi said the plan was never to compete for a full season in 2016. “The program is too new. We have every intention to race hard, and every intention to win. Right now we’re going through extensive testing and engineering analysis, we hope to be racing as soon as possible.”
ABOUT F PERFORMANCE RACING
F Performance Racing was formed in 2015, with the return of luxury brand Lexus to motorsports racing, to race 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 45 years. Media Contact: Brenda Brissette-Mata, 517-371-3000, [email protected]
Lexus launched in 1989 with two luxury sedans and a commitment to pursue perfection. Since that time, Lexus has expanded its line-up to meet the needs of global luxury customers. Lexus is now going beyond its reputation for high quality vehicles with the integration of innovative technology, emotional exterior and interior designs, and engaging driving dynamics and performance. With six models incorporating Lexus Hybrid Drive, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader. Lexus also offers seven F SPORT models and two F performance models. In the United States, Lexus vehicles are sold through 236 dealers who are committed to exemplary customer service.
Note to Editors: Lexus product information and images are available online via our news media web site http://LexusNewsroom.com.
Photo: Lindsey Boice
Lexus Partners with F Performance Racing for 2016 Racing Season and Beyond
LAS VEGAS, Nov. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Lexus today announced its motorsports partnership with Paul Gentilozzi and newly formed F Performance Racing to field the RC F GT3 in a soon to be announced sports car series. This new racing venture is part of Lexus’ global motorsports effort that will see the Japanese luxury brand competing on tracks in the United States beginning in 2016. The new race vehicle is based upon the production Lexus RC F high performance coupe that went on sale at the end of 2014.
“A core mission of F Performance Racing was to strengthen the Lexus’ F brand by applying lessons gleaned from racing, while nurturing an engineering culture that transfers that knowledge to dynamic, high performance passenger car development. We are very excited about what this partnership and race effort can mean for the brand in the years to come,” said Jeff Bracken, group vice president and general manager, Lexus division.
Veteran driver and road racing legend Scott Pruett will pilot the RC F GT3, bringing a wealth of experience to bear during the vehicle development phase. F Performance Racing will campaign a limited schedule in 2016. In its inaugural year, the team’s primary focus will involve developing the race organization while gathering data and track experience to help further propel vehicle development. For the 2017/18 season, the plan calls for F Performance Racing and Pruett to participate in a full sports car racing schedule with a multi-vehicle effort.
F Performance Racing Background
Pruett and Lexus have a history of success both on and off-the-track. The Roseville, California native campaigned Lexus-powered prototypes from 2004-2007 in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Championship Series earning three driver championships and winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona overall in 2007. In fact, Pruett has won the 24 Hours of Daytona a total of five times, earned 12 class victories and a record 60 wins in American sports car competition. Beyond his on-track feats, Pruett was an integral part of the development and global promotion of both the Lexus LFA supercar and the Lexus IS F performance sedan.
“When Lexus left motorsports, I pledged to them that I would be there to help them return when that time came,” said Pruett. “That time is now and I could not be more ecstatic to be representing Lexus as a performance brand ambassador and on the track in the F Performance RC F GT3.”
Gentilozzi competed in his first professional motorsports event 45 years ago. That NHRA drag racing event started a career that turned left and right into a significant road racing career resulting in five Trans Am driver championships with three different brands and virtually every record in the Trans Am history book. Gentilozzi also earned two Daytona 24 Hour class victories and an overall victory in the storied-event in 1994. On his path to more than 40 first place trophies, Gentilozzi’s teams accomplished three additional driver championships for Scott Pruett, Klaus Graf and Tomy Drissi and ten manufacturer championships in IMSA and Trans Am combined. Tony Gentilozzi joined the family business in 1994 and quickly became an accomplished championship engine builder taking teams to more than 50 wins and 100 podium finishes. In the fall of 1998, John Gentilozzi joined the action, engineering multiple championships and team records. A true “family” powerhouse was formed through victories in Champ Car, IMSA, Grand Am and Trans Am competition.
And Now, it Begins….
The racing family is ready to embrace a new challenge. In early 2015, at the North American International Auto show, Lexus announced the brand would return to racing with its high performance RC F. The possibility of returning to the hotly contested GT ranks in 2016 with Lexus’ high performance niche brand was a race team’s dream. Given the brand’s commitment to competition, Lexus racecars are poised to develop a motorsports heritage through sports car racing around the world. Simply put, this is a “must do” challenge for F Performance Racing and Scott Pruett.
“An opportunity to reunite with North America’s greatest sports car driver and a great friend, Scott Pruett and Lexus, a globally prestigious brand validating their performance potential, is a racer’s dream,” said Paul Gentilozzi. The racing family patriarch continues, “One that would put an exclamation point on anyone’s motorsports career.”
Accepting the challenge of being part of a developing Lexus Motorsports heritage, both F Performance Racing and Pruett look to 2016 and beyond with great anticipation of the first on-track success for the RC F GT3.
Lexus launched in 1989 with two luxury sedans and a commitment to pursue perfection. Since that time, Lexus has expanded its line-up to meet the needs of global luxury customers. Lexus is now going beyond its reputation for high quality vehicles with the integration of innovative technology, emotional exterior and interior designs, and engaging driving dynamics and performance. With six models incorporating Lexus Hybrid Drive, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader. Lexus also offers eight F SPORT models and one F performance model. In the United States, Lexus vehicles are sold through 236 dealers who are committed to exemplary customer service.