Lexus and 3GT Racing will compete at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park Saturday in the second sprint race of the season for the GTD class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Saturday’s IMSA race marks the return of the Lexus RC F GT3 to the race track following its historic first win in IMSA competition at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course earlier this month.
The 100-minute sprint race around the streets of Detroit is a home event for 3GT Racing. The race team is located in Lansing, Michigan, approximately 100 miles northwest of this weekend’s racing circuit. Fielding two Lexus RC F GT3 models in the GTD class, 3GT Racing is owned and operated by veteran racer Paul Gentilozzi, a five-time Trans-Am Series champion, and his longtime partners and sons, Tony and John Gentilozzi. Last year, both Lexus’ earned top seven results at Belle Isle with the No. 14 finishing sixth and the No. 15 Lexus recorded a seventh-place result. Jack Hawksworth, who previously raced at Belle Isle in IndyCar, ran the second-quickest GTD lap of the race.
Lexus and 3GT Racing head to Detroit with quite a bit of momentum after Dominik Baumann and Kyle Marcelli led the GTD class to the finish line to claim the first North American win for the Lexus RC F GT3 in early May. Marcelli started the race second and ran the second quickest lap of the sprint event in class, while Baumann led the final 73 circuits and held off a competitor on the closing laps to get to the top of the GTD podium.
In addition to the milestone win at Mid-Ohio for the No. 14, Hawksworth and David Heinemeier Hansson had a great deal of success behind the wheel of the No. 15 Lexus at the 13-turn, 2.258-mile Ohio road course circuit. The 3GT Racing RC F GT3s combined to lead every lap in class and Hawksworth led the GTD field for the first 43 laps in the No. 15 Lexus after earning the pole position. The driver duo went on to finish fourth, marking the best finish for the No. 15 in IMSA competition.
After a strong start to the season, Lexus is currently third in the GTD manufacturer points on the strength of one win, three top-fives and four top-10 finishes following the first three races. Hawksworth and Heinemeier Hansson are tied for fourth in the GTD championship standings, while Baumann and Marcelli rank sixth in points. Heinemeier Hansson also currently leads the Bob Akin Award standings, as the highest-ranking amateur driver in class.
3GT Racing Driver Quotes
Kyle Marcelli, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
What is your outlook for Saturday’s race at Belle Isle Park?
“It’s a home race for 3GT Racing, so we’re going to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to execute like we did at Mid-Ohio. I look forward to the street race at Detroit. I’ve been there a few times in different categories – the Prototype category and also in GTD. I had a win there in a Trans Am car as well, so I know the circuit and last year the Lexus’ were strong there. We just need to execute, not make mistakes and drive clean races and we should be able to get good results at Detroit.”
Dominik Baumann, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
How much momentum does the team have going to Detroit after claiming the first victory for the RC F GT3 at Mid-Ohio?
“Going into the first sprint race at Mid-Ohio I had a good feeling about the sprint races. It’s good momentum for the team and for everyone involved. We are motivated and we will keep pushing.”
Jack Hawksworth, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
What is your outlook for Detroit after a strong performance there last year and coming off your best finish at Mid-Ohio?
“A lot of unknowns going into this race. It’s a very short race and it’s a street course, so you could get yellow flags at multiple parts or go green. There are too many variables and a lot depends on pit stops and how we qualify.”
David Heinemeier Hansson, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
What is your outlook heading into Detroit coming off the team’s best finish at Mid-Ohio?
“This will be my first race at Belle Isle, and my first time back on a street course since 2012. That year I raced at Long Beach and Baltimore, and enjoyed both a lot. Street courses are so unforgiving with concrete barriers right at the edge, and no run off. It’s a different style. Looking forward to giving it another go this weekend.”