Lexus and AIM VASSER SULLIVAN (AVS) head to Lime Rock Park to race in Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Northeast Grand Prix. The two-hour and 40-minute sprint race is the first of two GT-only races on the IMSA schedule this season.
The Lexus RC F GT3 returns to Lime Rock Park for the third time in IMSA competition. Over the previous two seasons, Jack Hawksworth has led 60 laps behind the wheel of the Lexus RC F GT3 around the seven-turn, 1.5-mile road course. Hawksworth had recorded the fastest lap in the GTD class during the Lime Rock race last year and finished fifth with former teammate Mario Farnbacher, the best finish for the RC F GT3 at the Connecticut road course.
Along with Jack Hawksworth, all four of the AIM VASSER SULLIVAN drivers have experience racing around Lime Rock Park. Townsend Bell has raced at Lime Rock multiple times, earning his first professional win at the circuit in 1999 in the Barber Pro Series. Frankie Montecalvo earned a runner-up result there in 2017 racing with AIM Autosport, while Richard Heistand earned his first-career pole position at the Connecticut road course in Skip Barber competition in 2006.
Bell and Montecalvo are coming off their third podium finish of the season in the No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3 with a third-place result at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park two weeks ago. Jack Hawksworth and Richard Heistand finished 12th in the AVS No. 14 RC F GT3 following contact by a competitor nearly an hour into the race that forced the Lexus to the garage for repairs.
The AVS Lexus RC F GT3s have combined to earn two wins, five podiums, eight top-five and 10 top-10 results in six races this season.
Lexus continues to lead the GTD Sprint Cup Championship standings by 12 points and currently sits third and just three points behind the leader in the GTD overall manufacturer championship points. In the overall GTD team points, the AVS No. 12 Lexus sits in second place with its podium result at Canada and the No. 14 team is in sixth place in the standings. The No. 14 continues to lead the Sprint Cup point standings and the No. 12 is third in the Sprint Cup points.
The race will be tape-delayed on NBCSN, starting at 9:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday. Fans can follow the race action live on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com, beginning at 3:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday. Fans can also keep up with Lexus Racing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by using #LexusRCF GT3, #LexusPerformance and #LexusRacing, and online at www.Lexus.com/Motorsports.
AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Driver Quotes
JACK HAWKSWORTH, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
What is your outlook for the GT-only race at Lime Rock Park this weekend?
“Lime Rock is one of the standout events on the IMSA schedule due to the unique style of the circuit and event. It is one of the GT-only races and is, by far, the shortest track on the schedule. The track itself is, technically, not the most challenging, but as a race track, it offers huge challenges come race day due to the short length of the track and the high volume of cars on it! Traffic management is critical here. I have led quite a few laps there in the Lexus RC F GT3 the past few years and I hope we can bounce back after a difficult race in Canada for the 14 car, with a great finish this weekend for both AIM VASSER SULLIVAN RC F GT3’s.”
RICHARD HEISTAND, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
Have you raced at Lime Rock Park before?
“I got my first pole in the Skip Barber National back in 2006 at Lime Rock Park so it’s a special place to me. Of course, we ran the uphill back in those days, but that’s another story. That’s the last time I was there so hopefully we can go back and do it again this weekend in the Lexus RC F GT3.”
TOWNSEND BELL, No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3
Are you looking forward to racing at Lime Rock coming off a podium result in the RC F GT3 in Canada?
“I’m excited to go to Lime Rock coming off a nice podium finish in Canada in the AIM VASSER SULLIVAN No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3. I’ve actually been to Lime Rock in the last couple of years, which is different from some of the other sprint races this year like Detroit and Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, where I hadn’t raced in quite some time. I raced there in 2017. It’s such a great track. It’s a tight track and I expect it to be fiercely competitive as usual. We’ve made a lot of progress this year with our Lexus on consistency and managing our tires so quite keen to see how it plays out at Lime Rock, which is notoriously very difficult for tire degradation. I have fond memories at Lime Rock. I won my first professional race there in 1999 in the Barber Pro Series. It was a huge moment for me. I was a young driver, scrapping by to just get out there and came away with a lucky win at Lime Rock. Excited to get back there and race this weekend.”
FRANKIE MONTECALVO, No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3
Are you looking forward to racing the Lexus RC F GT3 at Lime Rock?
“I’m looking forward to getting back to racing this weekend at Lime Rock. I want to continue the momentum the 12 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus has been gaining since Watkins Glen and improve our results. Lime Rock is one of the closest race tracks to my home, so I look forward to having friends and family join.”
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.