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IMSA Long Beach

Lexus revels in “epic start to the year” after Long Beach win

Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat were elated to keep their podium run going after clinching a dominant victory in IMSA’s support race for the Grand Prix of Long Beach.

#14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3: Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat

The #14 Lexus RC F, run by Vasser Sullivan, led the GTD Pro class from green flag to checkered flag after getting the drop on GTD polesitter Marco Sorensen in the Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage.

This triumph follows a third place in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona (with Mike Conway) and second in the 12 Hours of Sebring (with Kyle Kirkwood), and leaves the British pair at the top of the GTD Pro points standings.

“It’s been an epic start to the year and we just keep building and putting races together,” said Hawksworth. “Today was just really good execution from the whole Vasser Sullivan team. The pit stop and the teamwork in pit lane, and Ben drove a stellar stint. The whole thing was just perfect. It was just a mega team performance.

“We controlled the race. The guys pitted us at exactly the right time so we could have a clean in-lap and a clean out-lap. It was just a perfect team performance.”
Barnicoat, who joined the team last year, said: “It feels amazing. We’ve been in great form all year. Third at Daytona, second at Sebring and first here at Long Beach. We’ve just been building up to it.

“Long Beach is an amazing track to win at. There’s so much history here. It’s our first win in Long Beach and the first win for Lexus and Vasser Sullivan here… We’ve both got to thank the team for this amazing effort. The pit stop and the strategy was perfect and gave us the advantage. An amazing day!”

Their teammates in the #12 GTD-class car, Aaron Telitz and Frankie Montecalvo, finished third in class behind the Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 and the Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage, after starting second.

“A solid day here at the Grand Prix of Long Beach,” said Telitz. “Congratulations to our Vasser Sullivan teammates for winning.

“Frankie had a great qualifying effort yesterday and we started up front and stayed up front. It’s really hard to pass here, but the Lexus RC F GT3 car was hooked up today.”

Added Montecalvo: “There was a little chaos on the opening lap. We got some contact on the start. I got checked up a little bit and the BMW got us, but it’s a great day for points. Our Vasser Sullivan team got a double podium finish. Congratulations to our sister car for getting the GTD Pro win. We got some great championship points with our P3 finish.”

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