SEBRING, Fla. (March 18, 2018) –The 3GT Racing team earned a top five finish at Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3. Dominik Baumann, in the No. 14, had the fastest GTD lap with a time of 2:00:628. The No. 14 finished P15.
The early hours of the endurance race were dominated by both Lexus RC F GT3 cars, with the No. 15 in the lead for 45 laps and the No. 14 in the lead for eight laps.
Near the halfway point of the endurance race, the second in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series, a few technical snafus and issues caused a loss of laps for both cars, moving them from top positions to nearer the bottom of the 18-car GTD class. In the last couple hours of the race, Hawksworth took the No. 15 from P14 to the final P5.
John Gentilozzi, 3GT Racing Technical Director said that nobody on either car team gave up.
“I’m not sure, if you were to have asked us mid-race how it would end, that we could have predicted this. Have to give a lot of credit to the No. 15 car guys, they did not give up,” he said. “Jack really drove a fantastic stint in the last couple hours of the race. It brought us to fifth and it’s a good result, but I think we still expect a lot more out of the car and out of the program.
Hopefully we’ll have a chance to show it during sprint season.”
Nearly six hours into the Saturday’s race, Philipp Frommenwiler, driving the No. 14, was P1 and David Heinemeier Hansson was P3 in the No. 15.
“The first six hours were great,” Frommenwiler said. “We were always in the top three fighting for the lead, but a few laps after I gave the Lexus over to Dominik (Baumann) in P1, we had a technical problem with the hood. The time it took to fix it lost us a few laps and we couldn’t get back.”
While Baumann was driving the No. 14, the hood came loose three times. He said he was certain that the team had a car for the podium when the race started.
“Everything went well until we had trouble with the hood. I couldn’t see anything. I hit the sign because I couldn’t see. It was not nice hitting that at 100 miles an hour,” he said “It’s hard to get a lap back this year because the level of drivers is so strong. We improved a lot over the weekend. We did a lot of set up work and we’re headed in a good direction.”
Kyle Marcelli, co-driver in the No. 14, said he thought the car was in shape to win.
“We started off so strong,” he said. “Not even just this weekend. The February test was really good and we rolled out of the trailer this weekend and had a good race car. Then, during Dominik’s (Baumann) stint the hood came up, and it’s just one of those stupid little things that you really can’t do much about.”
Gentilozzi thought the No. 14 car was positioned to get laps back on two or three occasions later in the race, but it just wasn’t possible to get past the class leader. “It’s a testament to the No. 14 drivers that they were able to drive up from behind and pass the guys that were in the lead group, but we couldn’t get past the class leader,” he said.
Heinemeier Hansson, co-driver in the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 said the ending of the race for the No. 15 car was a sure example of the magic of racing in IMSA.
“The right amount of luck with yellows can bring you back in contention. When Jack (Hawksworth) got back on the lead lap, he just put it down and we went up to fifth. An amazing finish given the issues that we had, two drive-throughs, the brake change, the steering wheel change. Just a lot of incidents and to finish fifth is a real victory.”
The 12-hour race along the 17 turn historic course was filled with yellow caution laps, but it was one in the closing hours that gave Hawksworth the opportunity to move the No. 15 back into a top position.
Hawksworth, who had qualified the No. 15 and started the race P3, surged into the lead of the GTD class in the first lap and continued to battle among the leaders throughout his first stint. But it was his last stint in the early evening hours that put the No. 15 in fifth place.
Hawksworth took over driving duties for the No. 15, which was P14, when he jumped in and then he just kept moving up.
“We’d had a few issues. Really, I didn’t know where we were when I got in, but I knew we were back,” he said. “I was told the cars ahead were for position, so I did my best to chase them down. The Ferrari in front was a little too fast, but I was able to overtake the Audi, the Porsches and the Acuras. Our Lexus was working well, and I was happy to salvage a top five. When you think of all the stuff that happened throughout the race and we came back and got a top five, I’m really happy.”
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.