Lexus and AIM VASSER SULLIVAN (AVS) concluded their first season together racing two RC F GT3 entries in Saturday’s Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The AVS Lexus RC F GT3 entries combined to earn two wins, five podiums, nine top-fives and 16 top-10 results during the 2019 IMSA season.
The AVS No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 earned a ninth-place result at Road Atlanta with co-drivers Jack Hawksworth, Richard Heistand and newcomer Parker Chase. Townsend Bell, Frankie Montecalvo and Aaron Telitz finished 11th in the AVS No. 12 Lexus at the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course. Both AVS entries were involved in incidents on the track during the 10-hour endurance event that forced them to the paddock for extensive repairs. Both Lexus entries eventually got back on track, crossing the finish line at the conclusion of the race.
Lexus finishes the season second in the inaugural IMSA GTD Sprint Cup Manufacturer’s Championship and fifth in the overall IMSA GTD manufacturer’s standings. Hawksworth and Heistand placed third in the GTD Sprint Cup standings and sixth in the overall GTD driver’s championship. Bell and Montecalvo finished seventh in the GTD Sprint Cup standings and eighth in the overall GTD driver point standings to close out 2019. With his results behind the wheel of the AVS No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 this year, Heistand clinched the Bob Akin Award, given to the highest-placed eligible amateur GTD driver.
The endurance event at Road Atlanta was the final race of the 11-event IMSA schedule. Lexus and AVS return to action in 2020 at the Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 25, 2020.
AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Driver Quotes
JACK HAWKSWORTH, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
How would you sum up the 2019 season with AIM VASSER SULLIVAN?
“It’s been a really promising year for the first year of the AIM VASSER SULLIVAN program. We got two wins with the Lexus RC F GT3 at Mid-Ohio and Detroit, and those were the highlights for me personally and for the 14 team this season. Alongside that, the No. 12 Lexus got three podiums this season. Overall, for the first year of the program, it’s been really positive to collect that much hardware. Now, we’re going into the off-season looking to improve, pick ourselves back up and see what we can do better so that we can come back next year and try to mount a championship challenge.”
RICHARD HEISTAND, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
What does it mean to win IMSA’s Bob Akin award for top GTD amateur during the 2019 season?
“We didn’t end the season entirely the way we wanted, but to win the Bob Akin award is pretty special. It’s an entrance into Le Mans. It’s something that we had kind of in the bag for a while and then down the stretch we weren’t scoring the points we needed to score, and it ended up being really close. To qualify and get the points I needed to win the award at the last race, the AIM VASSER SULLIVAN boys needed to fix the car and we were literally down to the last five minutes to get the car back on the track and they did an incredible job. I wouldn’t have won it without them, so hats off to them. I’m excited to hopefully go to Le Mans.”
TOWNSEND BELL, No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3
Are you pleased with your first season driving the Lexus RC F GT3 for AIM VASSER SULLIVAN?
“What a roller-coaster ride this season has been. A brand new team coming together, and we started off on the podium at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. We finished every race this season and that is a real accomplishment. The AIM VASSER SULLIVAN guys worked incredibly hard for us all year. A lot of challenges, but we all stuck with it and to finish the season rolling across the finish line at the end of 10 hours is a big accomplishment for this young team. We have a lot of growth left as we move into next season.”