The 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3s both finished in the top-10 and led laps in Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-finale race at Road Atlanta to close out the debut season for the Lexus RC F GT3 competing in the GTD class.
The No.15 Lexus with drivers Austin Cindric, Jack Hawksworth and Scott Pruett recorded an eighth-place result in the 10-hour Petit Le Mans endurance event. The No.15 ran strong much of the race, however a penalty within the closing hours of the event for an improper pass around and then damage to the RC F GT3 on-track shortly after resulted in the team finishing eighth.
3GT Racing drivers Robert Alon, Sage Karam and Ian James finished 10th behind the wheel of the No. 14 RC F GT3 in the season-finale. The No. 14 was also competitive during the race, but an accident with just under two hours remaining ended the day early.
Both RC F GT3s led the GTD field around the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course, with Karam out front in the No.14 Lexus for 18 laps and Pruett led the class field for five laps.
3GT Racing finishes the debut season competing in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship in the Lexus RC F GT3 with a total of two top-five results and 13 top-10 finishes and a pole position for the two-car effort in 12 races this season. The No. 15 also ran the quickest laps in two races this season with Hawksworth behind the wheel of the 3GT Racing Lexus, and Karam set a new track record at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park when he earned the first pole position for the RC F GT3 in qualifying.
The 2018 season will open at the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018.
Lexus Racing Quotes
JACK HAWKSWORTH, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
How was your race today?
“It was fun early on. We unfortunately got the penalty at the beginning and went to the back and had a lot of fun charging through. We made a good call to be the first on the slicks which I think paid off after the penalty because I was able to cover a lot of the ground we lost pitting early and grab some fast laps the first stint. I was really looking after the car with a 10-hour race just kind of getting a feel for everything. So, everything was kind of running smooth and I guess we picked up a little engine problem in the afternoon. Then we started to lose power and Austin (Cindric) and Scott (Pruett) struggled with that a little bit. I got back in there at the end and kind of worked our way back up. We didn’t have the horsepower that we normally have, but we had a very good chassis and our RC F was working well with good handling, especially as it cooled off into the night. The lap times were very competitive. I didn’t expect to be that fast with the issue, so I was kind of shocked. We had an issue and served a penalty, and then had an issue with the starter but got back out there and then had an incident on the track that damaged our car. The guys did an awesome job, never gave up, and got the car back together. We got the finish tonight, which I guess is an achievement with everything we had go wrong.”
SCOTT PRUETT, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
Can you talk about closing out the season this weekend?
“We were hopeful to finish on the podium. We ran strong – both the 14 and 15. We had our issues and we had our problems – first, I’m so glad Robert (Alon) is okay after that crash. And, unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. It was just one of those seasons that you’ve just got to realize it’s a building season, we learned a lot from 2017 and we have a lot of momentum going into 2018.”
SAGE KARAM, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
How was your time behind the wheel of the Lexus RC F GT3 today?
“I had a lot of fun driving the RC F GT3 today. Led some laps and had some good smart hard racing today. Really, really close out there with a couple of guys. It was probably one of the most fun times I’ve had driving the Lexus for sure. Whenever you can run competitively and run upfront and be battling for podiums and wins that’s always a good time. Started ninth and got it up to second on my first stint and then came back in and gave it to Rob (Alon) and Ian (James) and they drove great all day long. Hats off to them. I got back in the car and brought it up to first, led some laps and that was really a cool thing and I was starting to get in the groove and starting to think we’re getting to the later stages of the race and the car was in a good position where we might have an opportunity at a potential podium and then unfortunately we had the accident and that’s that. It’s just unfortunate, but those things happen in racing and it’s those things that make you want to succeed even more and make the triumph mean so much more to you. We’ll be back strong hopefully and we’re going to get it.”
ROBERT ALON, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
Are you okay after the accident and can you talk about your stints in the Lexus today?
“In my first stint the car was a bit loose and on the first pit stop while I was in the car we made a wing change that really settled down the car, and after that I felt like we had great pace. We were catching the guys up front. Everything seemed to be going really well and we were running really strong. Sage (Karam) was running upfront and then the thing that hurt us was when I got in the second time I got a puncture. I’m not really sure where it came from – maybe debris on the track – but pretty much I got a punctured tire and then I think something broke and went into the wall in the last corner, but I’m okay.”