EAST LANSING, MI (March 9, 2017) — The 3GT Racing team is ready to take the track with the No. 14 and No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3s at the Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., March 17-18, for IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, 65th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida.
The team’s official IMSA race debut, marking Lexus’ return to North American sports car racing, took place in January at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. There, the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 finished 14th in the GTD class, 36th overall. The No. 14 car retired after an incident in the second hour.
Both cars will be on track for Sebring’s 17-turn, 3.74-mile circuit with full-time drivers Sage Karam, Scott Pruett, Robert Alon and Jack Hawksworth, and endurance drivers, Ian James and Austin Cindric.
Paul Gentilozzi, 3GT Racing managing partner, said the team learned a lot about the car and about the team, during the debut race at Daytona. Gentilozzi knows Sebring well, he won the GTS class in 1992 at Twelve Hours of Sebring and won the overall pole position in 1994. “Twelve hours at Sebring is like 24 hours at any of the other famous tracks in the world,” he said. “The design, conditions, and grueling pace make it a special challenge. But we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Pruett, veteran driver and newly named inductee into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, has had two wins at Sebring. In 1986 and most recently an overall win in 2014 during the Tudor United SportsCar championship. Pruett said the track at Sebring, with its long and storied history of impacting cars and drivers with big bumps, multiple turns and an unconventional surface, is “an acquired taste.”
“It’s one of those tracks that hasn’t changed much over the years,” Pruett said.
“It’s one of the roughest in the circuit and challenging. It demands a lot of our set up, our crew, our drivers and our car. But with some of the BoP changes, as well as going back to using Continental’s standard construction tire, we’re going to be a lot more competitive. You could see it at the test, just looking at the lap times. And I hope, and plan, that will be the case when we go back to race.”
The sanctioning body of IMSA announced Balance of Performance modifications for three of the four WeatherTech Championship classes, shortly after the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Changes for the Lexus RC F GT3 cars, which run in the GTD class, include more ballast (+10 kg), an additional +2mm (total) across the restrictor and additional fuel capacities and increased refueling speeds (+2L, +2.0mm).
Practice sessions at Sebring will be held on Thursday, March 16 and qualifying for the GTD class, will take place on Friday, March 17. The race is schedule to begin at 10:40 a.m. on Saturday.
ADDITIONAL DRIVER QUOTES:
Robert Alon, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3: “I’ve been to Sebring three times, twice in Prototype Lites and once in PC. I’m very familiar with the track. I came away from our test with a great deal of confidence in the car. It seemed to really handle the bumps well. I’m really looking forward to this race, it’s one of my favorite tracks.”
Sage Karam, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3: “Sebring is really a different animal. Probably one of the bumpiest circuits ever. At the test, as far as reliability, our car did great. It really floated over that surface, took the bumps well. For me, that’s really encouraging because twelve hours is a long time to go on that surface. We have a few question marks going into the race, but our goal here is the same as it was in Daytona. And that is – complete all the hours in the race and do as well as possible. If we can do that, we’ll be off to a great start for the rest of the season.”
Jack Hawksworth, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3: “While testing at Sebring we ran through an extensive program and were really happy with our progress and the competitiveness of the Lexus RC F GT3. Getting to the end of the 24 hours at Daytona was a big confidence boost for the whole 3GT Racing team. We have had time to make improvements and the whole team has really seemed to gel. If we can continue to the build on this, then I am positive we can achieve a great result. I love this track, it has a ton of character and I can’t wait to get out there!”
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 46 years and they have claimed more than 75 victories and 15 manufacturer and driver championships.
3GT Racing, PR Director, Brenda Brissette-Mata
Ph: 517-337-3000 Cell: 810-394-8910 Email: [email protected]