Lexus previously competed at the 11-turn, 2.238-mile California road course from 2005 to 2009 in the Prototype class. Scott Pruett earned four podium finishes in a Lexus-powered Prototype during that time, including a win in 2005. Pruett also earned the pole position for Lexus in 2009 at Laguna Seca. This weekend’s race is a bit of a homecoming for Pruett who grew up in Roseville, California and currently resides in Auburn, California. Along with his impressive racing resume, Pruett is also a successful winemaker, and Pruett Vineyards is located in the Sierra foothills where the Hall of Fame racer does all of the winemaking himself.
In addition to Pruett’s past success at the track, 3GT Racing driver Robert Alon was victorious from the pole position in the Prototype Challenge class in last year’s IMSA race at the California road course prior to racing a Lexus.
The 3GT Racing No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 recorded a seventh-place result in the GTD class in the last IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) in August with drivers Sage Karam and Alon. Karam, who served a 60-second penalty during the caution free race, was able to rebound for his seventh top-10 finish in 10 races this season. The No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 finished 13th in class at the 3.27-mile road course with 3GT Racing drivers Jack Hawksworth and Pruett after an on-track incident ended their day early. Hawksworth was also involved in an incident on the first lap of the two hour and 40 minute event that resulted the No. 15 Lexus spinning in turn 1, but the 26-year-old driver was able to come back through the field to as high as the third position before handing over driving duties to Pruett with an hour left in the race.
Lexus Racing Quotes
JACK HAWKSWORTH, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
How would you describe Laguna Seca and do you feel it will suit the Lexus RC F GT3 this weekend?
“It’s very much like a motorcycle track, a lot of flowy corners and the curbs are very low. Last time I was there was in 2012, and it was a bit of a low grip kind of track. The weather should be nice, it’s California, so it won’t be absolutely scorching. There are a lot of fast corners and our Lexus likes to work well in a high-speed corner, but we have struggled a bit more on lower grip tracks, so I guess it’s a bit of an unknown if this track will suit us.”
SCOTT PRUETT, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
What is your outlook racing at Laguna Seca this weekend?
“I’m looking forward to the race at Laguna. One of things I know is that traffic is going to be an issue. It’s a short track and it’s going to be hectic. Pit lane is short, the pit boxes are going to be tight. When you get that much traffic on that little of a track, it will make for a challenging race. I see it as a huge challenge, and that being said, we’ll be focused on car setup. It’s always a low grip race track, you’re always trying to find the right balance because you’re always sliding around all the time, that’s Laguna.”
SAGE KARAM, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
Do you enjoy racing at Laguna Seca?
“The coolest thing about Laguna is that it’s a really historical track, it’s been around for a while. I haven’t had a lot of good luck when I’ve raced there, so it’s not one of my favorite tracks, but it’s fun to drive around and I really hope my luck will change when we get our Lexus RC F GT3 there. We need some luck. We’ve seen the cars are fast and we know we have pace. I think we looked at a lot of the data from the last race and found some things that we maybe can try in the setup there that will help our car balance overall. If we show up with a pretty good package in our RC F GT3, it will give us a better opportunity to be there at the end. We have to make the right decisions on the track, off the track and in the pits. The GTD class is really challenging, there’s so much competition and so many good cars. We just have to get up front and stay there.”
ROBERT ALON, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
Are you looking forward to racing at Laguna Seca after winning there last year?
“I’m excited to get to Laguna Seca. I love it. I’ve only been there once, but it’s a California track in my home state and it’s one of my favorite tracks. It’s a legendary track. I love everything about it and I can’t wait to go there and see what we’ve got. Last year it was very difficult to pass and a lot of what had to be done was just to focus on trying to get through traffic and manage the other cars. It’s a fast sweeping corners track and our Lexus is very good on the fast stuff — very stable. I really think we’ll be able to push it.”