Lexus and 3GT Racing will compete in the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Saturday in the Twelve Hours of Sebring event at Florida’s historic Sebring International Raceway. 3GT Racing drivers will compete in two Lexus RC F GT3s during the 12-hour endurance event.
Last year, both RC F GT3s finished the 12-hour race after starting in the top-five in the GTD class of the historic endurance event. It marked the first time a Lexus had raced at Sebring since 1995 when actor Craig T. Nelson co-piloted a Lexus-powered Prototype to a 14th-place finish in class that year.
The 3GT Racing No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 will debut a new look beginning this weekend at Sebring. The new red livery will include 3GT Racing sponsor Basecamp adorned on the doors of the Lexus. Basecamp, which was co-founded in 1999 by 3GT Racing driver David Heinemeier Hansson, is a web-based project management tool that primarily features to-do lists, milestone management, forum-like messaging, file sharing and time tracking.
3GT Racing full-time drivers Heinemeier Hansson and Jack Hawskworth will be joined this weekend by endurance racer Sean Rayhall. The 23-year-old racer joins 3GT Racing this week in Sebring and will also compete in the Lexus RC F GT3 in the season-finale Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in October. Rayhall, who recently tested the RC F GT3 for the first time at Sebring, finished second last year in the Twelve Hours of Sebring in the Prototype Challenge class. This weekend, he will also race in Friday’s standalone Prototype Challenge event at Sebring. Along with his two races for 3GT Racing, Rayhall will also compete in the LMP3 class of the European Le Mans Series this season after winning the LMP3 class championship last year. In addition to sports car racing, the Douglasville, Georgia native has also competed in Indy Lights where he won twice in 2015, Legends cars, and karting during his young career.
Philipp Frommenwiler will once again join full-time drivers Dominik Baumann and Kyle Marcelli driving the chrome blue No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 at Sebring after racing with the team at the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3s both crossed the finish line in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, which took place at the famed Daytona International Speedway in late January. The 3GT Racing No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 scored a team-best Rolex 24 at Daytona finish of ninth-place in the GTD class while the No. 14 RC F GT3 placed 15th in class, fielding an entirely new driver lineup for 2018. The performances of both Lexus entries marks the first time 3GT Racing had both RC F GT3s finish the entirety of the Rolex 24 at Daytona in its second year of competition in the GTD class.
JACK HAWKSWORTH, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
What is your outlook for the Twelve Hours of Sebring and do you enjoy racing at this historic track?
“I’m feeling much more positive coming into this race at Sebring. We were happy with the steps we made at Daytona in comparison to last year. Now we know we’re coming to a circuit where we were strong at last year with some slightly new ideas and with our new ABS system. The RC F GT3 worked very well at the test and the new tire seems to be lasting better than last year, so we’re optimistic about the race. I really like the long circuits where there’s a lot of corners and it’s technical and there’s a lot going on. Sebring is probably the most technical on the calendar and the most historic as well. Obviously, everyone wants to win Daytona because of the watch, but I think everyone wants to win this one because of the history of it. You see all of the manufacturers listed along the top of the pit structure and everybody has heard of the Twelve Hours of Sebring, so I think the combination of the challenge of the circuit and the history of this place makes it fun to race at.”
DAVID HEINEMEIER HANSSON, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
Do you feel Sebring Raceway suits the Lexus RC F GT3 after having a chance to test there recently?
“The Sebring test went great recently. Both cars worked through a lot of setups, and I ended up very comfortable in the car. It feels like Sebring really suits the RC F GT3, so I’m hopeful that we’ll bounce back from the trial at Daytona with a top finish. Sebring is my favorite track in the U.S. I’ve been on the podium, but never won it. So keen to make a go at that.”
SEAN RAYHALL, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
What are your impressions of the Lexus RC F GT3 after the Sebring test and are you looking forward to the race?
“I love driving the Lexus. I’m having a ton of fun driving it, getting used to it and enjoying it. Jack (Hawskworth) and David (Heinemeier Hansson) were super helpful at the test – they both have some experience driving it. This whole 3GT Racing team has just really been spot on in bringing me up to speed. I’m feeling really optimistic coming into the 12-hour race. It’s such a prestigious event coming here. It’s almost like there’s more glory in winning this than any other race in the states. Petit Le Mans for me is special because it’s my home race, but this one is on my bucket list that I really need a victory trophy from.”
DOMINIK BAUMANN, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
What is your outlook for the Lexus RC F GT3 at Sebring?
“The RC F GT3 felt really good testing at Sebring. It’s fun to get to a different track with different temperatures. Sebring is a real race track with runoffs. It’s been around many years, but is the same track and they’ve never changed anything. The grip level during the test was great out there and the RC F GT3 really suits to this track with really fast corners and I believe we have everything that we need and really looking forward to Sebring.”
KYLE MARCELLI, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
How challenging is it to race in the Twelve Hours of Sebring?
“Physically racing Sebring is brutal. I’d say it’s almost more challenging to do a 12-hour race at Sebring than a 24-hour race at Daytona. The GT cars are a little bit more forgiving than the Prototypes. I have quite a bit of experience at Sebring in the Prototypes and your knees and elbows are so smashed up and bruised. The biggest thing with GT cars is dealing with the heat, especially being Canadian and right now it’s still our winter, so the heat is a killer for me. That’s the biggest struggle physically.”
PHILIPP FROMMENWILER, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
Do you think Sebring Raceway suits the Lexus RC F GT3 after testing there recently?
“Yes, absolutely. The Lexus felt really good at the test and I think we will be more competitive than at the Daytona. I think that we have a good driver lineup, a good setup for the RC F GT3 and a good team, and we are well prepared for the 12-hour race.”