Lexus and 3GT Racing head to the west coast this weekend to compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at WeatherTech Laguna Seca on Sunday. Lexus currently ranking third in the GTD manufacturer championship standings with just two races remaining on the 2018 IMSA schedule.
This weekend marks the second visit by the RC F GT3 at the historic California road course, and earlier this year Lexus and the County of Monterey announced Lexus as the official luxury vehicle at the iconic circuit where luxury brand was first introduced to its dealers back in 1989. As part of the partnership, the Lexus GS F serves as the official pace car for races taking place at the iconic circuit, including this weekend, as well as support vehicles throughout the facility. In addition, Lexus has a select amount of track days, enabling the luxury brand to introduce customers to its performance vehicles through exhilarating on-track activities.
Lexus also previously competed in racing action at the 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit in the Prototype class from 2005 to 2009. During that time, Hall of Fame racer and Lexus brand ambassador Scott Pruett earned four podium finishes in a Lexus-powered Prototype, including a win in 2005 and a pole position in 2009.
3GT Racing drivers Dominik Baumann and Kyle Marcelli recently claimed their second GTD victory of the season in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 at Virginia International Raceway. Baumann led the final 18 laps around the 17-turn, 3.27-mile Virginia road course to score the team’s second victory of the season and third podium finish. The No. 15 Lexus co-driven by Jack Hawksworth and David Heinemeier Hansson finished 10th in the two hour and 40 minute sprint race with Hawksworth running the quickest GTD lap of the race for the fifth time this season. Hawksworth also earned a series-best fourth GTD pole position while at VIR.
KYLE MARCELLI, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
What makes racing at Laguna Seca so unique?
“California is a beautiful place to visit. The circuit, how it sits on top of the mountain is very picturesque. It’s an enjoyable circuit to drive, it’s good to race. We talk about some tracks being fun to drive, but racing or overtaking is difficult, but at Laguna, there are several places for overtaking and that makes it fun. What is unique is that you have to use all of the track, every inch of the road on entry to the corner and on the exit to the corner. Go a bit beyond the limit and you are in the sand.”
Do you feel the team has momentum going into the final two races of the season?
“I really think we’ve had momentum ever since Mid-Ohio. We have had pretty strong performances all season from Mid-Ohio until now, and I expect the same for the last two races of the year. Dominik (Baumann) and I are of the mindset to maximize our results in these last two races. We had a slow start to the season with gremlins at Daytona and Sebring, but we certainly hope to finish the season on a high note and the momentum is in our favor.”
DOMINIK BAUMANN, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
What is your outlook for the final two races of the season coming off the win at VIR?
“I hope we can continue the way we ended at VIR, to get good results and show just how much we are able to do. We have had momentum the whole year. We have improved the car throughout the season. We had some small issues the beginning of the year, but you can see at each race we won or finished on the podium that we’re a good package – us drivers, car and team.”
JACK HAWKSWORTH, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
What is your outlook for racing at Laguna Seca this weekend?
“At Laguna last year, we did struggle. The track is quite low grip, very high tire degradation. The key this year will be to come back with a better performance and some idea about how we can look after the tires, so we can have some performance toward the end of the stints. We know we’re going to have to work hard to rectify the issues we know about from last year and that’s what we’ll try to do. Obviously, fundamentally, we know a lot more about the car this year. We have made some changes that will be worth something when we go into Laguna this year. We have more knowledge and the set-ups will be better considering what we’ve learned. I’m sure the engineers will have some good ideas.”
DAVID HEINEMEIER HANSSON, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
What is your outlook for racing at Laguna Seca?
“I really like Laguna Seca. It’s a real treat to drive in such beautiful surroundings. And, an added bonus that I can drive from our place in Malibu to the track.”