BRASELTON, GA. (October 7, 2017) — The final results of the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta left both Lexus RC F GT3 cars, No. 14 and No. 15, with a formal finish in the top ten. But it wasn’t the finish anybody was hoping for, and certainly not what the performances in the early hours of the race seemed to promise.
During the 10-hour endurance race, three of the four main 3GT Racing team drivers ran in the lead of the GTD class. Scott Pruett, Sage Karam and Jack Hawksworth, all were leaders, but only the No. 15 crossed the finish line. With less than two hours to go, and in about five minutes, both cars were involved in incidents.
Robert Alon in the No. 14 car had contact with the tire wall in turn 12. Alon was uninjured, but was evaluated by IMSA medical staff and released. The damage to the car was not repairable in the time remaining. The reason for the incident is still under assessment.
Other drivers of the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 included Sage Karam and additional endurance race driver, Ian James.
Minutes after Alon’s incident, Hawksworth, who had spent two minutes and 44 seconds in the penalty box, had to have help from the crew to get the No. 15 started and back on the track. Before he’d completed his return lap, the front end of the car was damaged.
“The Penske car drove into the front of me on the back straight,” he said. “The Penske car was passing someone and then drove right over the front of my car. The worst bit of driving I’ve ever seen.”
The No. 15 was repaired by the 3GT Racing crew and returned to finish the race in 8th-place.
3GT Racing Technical Director, John Gentilozzi called the race “an unfortunate end to our season.” This was the last race in the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
“We ran very well with both cars throughout the entire race. We led some laps, led some good chunks of laps and were in the hunt, up until the contact with the wall,” Gentilozzi said.
“You have to give credit to the drivers who went in there and ran consistent laps and had great pace. We were hoping for something better out of this weekend. I think we worked really hard – the engineers, crew and drivers – everybody worked hard and we thought we could get win or at least be on the podium. But unfortunately, stuff that was out of our control, for the most part, prevented that result. But we’ll certainly come back and expect better results next year.”
It was a tough ending for Pruett, Hawksworth’s co-driver alongside Austin Cindric. Like the rest of the team, Pruett said he had hoped for a strong ending to the Lexus RC F GT3 inaugural season. “We were hopeful about finishing on the podium” he said.
“We ran strong, both cars, the 14 and the 15, there were a few issues, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was one of those seasons. You have to remember it’s a building season. We learned a lot. We have a lot of momentum going into 2018, and a lot to learn from 2017.”
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.