Austin, Texas (May 6, 2017) – 3GT Racing’s Sage Karam earned the team’s second top 10 finish during the Advance Auto Sportscar Showdown at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on May 6. Karam reached the checkered flag in 9th position during the fourth race of IMSA’s 2017 WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.
Karam’s co-pilot in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3, Scott Pruett, said he thought Sage did a great job, calling the race a “fight to the finish.”
Pruett started the race in the No. 14 when the green flag dropped at 1:35 p.m. He encountered a snarl of traffic among several GTLM cars at the first turn of the 3.427-mile, 20 turn track.
“It was crazy. Luckily, we got out of that, but that’s how the race started,” Pruett said. “I thought the car felt loose, and for me it was just about doing the best I could for the first stint, then get it over to Sage. He really did a great job and got everything he could out of the car.”
Karam posted the fastest lap in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 (2.09.693) during lap 24. He said he was happy with the 9th position, but thinks that a better result is not far off. “The crew has been amazing. The guys have been working so hard and we had some great pits. Plus, the car’s been getting better every day. I really think we’re getting closer to a better result,” he said.
The team of the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 took to the track with Robert Alon in the driver seat, starting in the last position. Hawksworth had qualified the No. 15 in 2P on Friday, but a post-race technical inspection found one feature of the No. 15 was .015 inches too low, which forced the team to start at the back.
“It’s really hard to start from the back,” Hawksworth said. “When I got in the car, I was hoping I could move up and get a better position so I was pretty aggressive. I passed two or three cars and then I spun the Porsche.”
Hawksworth, who posted the fastest lap in the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 (2.09.398) during lap 21, earned a drive-through penalty for the Porsche incident.
3GT Racing’s Managing Partner, Paul Gentilozzi, said the penalty was deserved. “The GTD class is very competitive and passing is difficult,” he said.
“You can be two seconds faster and still be unable to get through that field. That’s what happened to us. That, and we were a little too aggressive and got the penalty. Our apology to the Porsche team. It wasn’t our intention, they checked up, and we ran into them.”
The next race for the 3GT Racing team will be in Michigan, the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix presented by Lear Corporation will be held on June 3.
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 have claimed more than 75 victories and 15 manufacturer and driver championships.
East Lansing, Michigan (April 29, 2017) – The Texas sun will soon shine on the bright blue chrome of the Lexus RC F GT3 cars, No. 14 and No. 15, as the 3GT Racing team heads to Austin for the Advanced Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown, May 5-6 at Circuit of the Americas.
This is the fourth race in the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship for the East Lansing, Michigan-based team and the first appearance at this track for Lexus RC F GT3 No. 14 driver, Sage Karam.
“The only experience I have at CoTA is on the simulator, this will be my first time in-person on the track,” the 22-year old Karam said. “I’m not worried. As drivers at this level, it’s part of our job to pick up on tracks and track conditions quickly. With all the simulator work I’ve done, I know I’ll be fine, but never having driven there before does add a new variable. I’m looking forward to it and I guarantee I’ll be fine after five laps.”
It will be the third visit to the 3.4 mile, 20-turn track for Karam’s co-pilot in the No. 14, legendary sports car driver Scott Pruett. And so far, Pruett is two for two in Texas.
He and co-driver Memo Rojas claimed victory in 2014 during the Tudor United SportsCar Championship Prototype race at CoTA. Pruett took the checkered flag and ran out of gas moments later. He had to hitchhike back to get his hands on the trophy for his 59th career win. At the same Texas track, a year later, Pruett earned his 60th win during the Lone Star LeMans.
“I love CoTA,” the 57-year old, silver-rated driver said. “It’s by far one of the nicest facilities in the U.S. For me, it’s about the flow and the setup and I would love nothing more than to visit victory lane again this year. But right now, we’re still climbing that learning curve. We learned a lot at Long Beach, and at every race. After every race, we review our data and each time we learn new things about the car and how to take advantage of its strengths. And at CoTA, we’ll do the same thing. Race the best we can with what we know about the car and then learn some more.”
John Gentilozzi, 3GT Racing Technical Director, said he sees the progress that the team has made since the first appearance of the Lexus RC F GT3 at the Rolex 24 in Daytona, in January.
“Every time we are on track, we learn something new about the car. At first, we took big steps in knowledge, and now we are working diligently to refine this knowledge and optimize the performance of the car,” Gentilozzi said.
With the endurance races over, the focus now is on the summer, sprint phase, of the IMSA calendar and Gentilozzi said the strategies have been altered to reflect that.
“We are at the forefront of a global effort to develop a successful, reliable GT3 car. In conjunction with our partners at TRD and TTC, we are refocusing our setups and race strategies to optimize team and vehicle performance for the upcoming 2 hour and 40 minute races.”
How to watch the race: The green flag will drop on the 2-hour and 40-minute race on May 6 at 1:35 p.m. (CT). The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race from CoTA will be broadcast, same-day delay, on FS1, beginning at 7 p.m. (ET).
Jack Hawksworth, No. 15, Lexus RC F GT3: “I raced at CoTA in 2014. It is a track I enjoy a lot and I am looking forward to getting back out there. I really feel that we have had good speed all season, especially in the last two events (Sebring and Long Beach). The car is behaving well and as a team we are beginning to unlock more pace each time. The only negative is that we have yet to execute a clean race and be rewarded with the finish that the speed of our car deserves. The aim in CoTA must be to execute in every session, every lap and every pit stop. If we can do this, and Rob (Alon) and I give our best for everybody involved with the program, then I have no doubt we will deliver the result the whole team deserves – that is my only goal.”
Robert Alon, No. 15, Lexus RC F GT3: “I’m looking forward to CoTA. I had a chance to race there last year in the PC class and finished second. It was a great track, reminds me of Sebring but without so many bumps. Right now, I feel like I have more of a push to do better. The car has felt strong and performed well in the last two races, all I can expect is for it to continue performing that well. And, I feel more confident going into this race.”
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.