(LAKEVILLE, CT) July 21, 2018 — 3GT Racing earned a top-five finish with the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 (fifth place) at the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, CT. The No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 finished seventh.
Jack Hawksworth, in the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3, earned another fastest lap, (52:145) during the Northeast Grand Prix. Making this is his fourth fastest lap in the last five races (Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Lime Rock Park).
Hawksworth said that this weekend’s practice sessions were a bit of a struggle for the No. 15.
“Then, it was a Hail Mary in qualifying and we got third, which was ok, but we honestly thought we weren’t going to do well in the race,” Hawksworth said. “But the pace was ok in the first stint, and then pitted early, got on the new tires, and it was ok. Our strategy was good, and we ended up fifth. I’m honestly quite happy because I really didn’t think we’d do that well.”
Mario Farnbacher, Hawksworth’s co-driver in the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 at Lime Rock, said the car was much better during the race than it had been in practice.
“We’re happy with a fifth-place result because this track was tough with traction issues for everybody,” he said. “We made the best out of it.”
3GT Racing’s Managing Partner, Paul Gentilozzi said the No. 15 employed a three-stop strategy to deal with the tire degradation.
“We chose to do a three-stop strategy based on our good young tire pace and our bad old tire pace. So, we knew that in combined we were out of sequence about 40 laps and in those 40 laps had we gone the full distance on the tires we would have been running five seconds off the pace. It was the only strategy available to us.”
Gentilozzi said that fifth place was a reasonable expectation considering the performance level during the practice sessions.
“We made a much better race car after qualifying,” he said. “Jack (Hawksworth) was very brave in qualifying and got us P3. Our engineer (Nicola Palarchi) worked out a much better car that performed ok. But the increased weight that we have is just killing the tires. We cannot run any distance. We saw it at Mosport; we saw it even worse here. Other people could run 60 laps we could run about 45 or 48 laps before tire degradation killed us.”
For the No. 14 team it was an even more difficult race.
First stint in the No. 14 was driven by Dominik Baumann, who qualified P2 in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3.
“I started the race P2, lost one position to Jack but it was ok, I knew I needed to stay with the leaders,” Baumann said. “I tried to save some tires, but it failed. We struggled a lot with tire degradation.”
Baumann’s co-driver, Kyle Marcelli, had a very busy weekend. Marcelli drove in the Continental SportsCar race as well as the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series.
“Overall it was a difficult race for us in many respects,” Marcelli said. “Personally, it was busy, busy weekend for me. My entire stint, for about two hours, was green flag. And so around here, a lap is only 52 to 55 seconds, so you do a heck of a lot of laps in two hours. My first stint was ok, my second was a handful and the last hour our Lexus was great.”
“At the end of the day we didn’t do as good a job as we could have with the car setup on the No. 14,” said 3GT Racing’s Technical Director, John Gentilozzi. “Full credit to the No. 15 car for their strategy that’s a pretty brave move adding a green flag stop like that and certainly Jack and Mario drove exceptional races. I know it was tough for Kyle and Dominic after the first pit stop we really couldn’t go forward too much. We needed a little bit of help. We needed a yellow, we needed something. And we just didn’t get it.”
“I think we definitely have a lot to put in our notebook for next year about this track and what we can do to improve,” John Gentilozzi said. “So, we’ll take that, and go off to Road America which is someplace that suits our cars a little better.”
Next race is Road America on Aug. 5 in Elkhart Lake, WI.
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.