◾3GT Racing's No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 finished 13th in the GTD class (28th overall) at the Twelve Hours of Sebring Saturday. Robert Alon, Austin Cindric and Jack Hawksworth piloted the No. 15 Lexus entry in Lexus' second race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
◾Hawksworth turned the fastest lap in the No. 15 Lexus and the second overall quickest lap in the GTD class – with a lap of 2:01.674 on the 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course.
◾The 3GT Racing No. 14 Lexus entry finished 18th in class (35th overall) after mechanical issues forced the RC F GT3 to the garage during the 12-hour race. Ian James, Sage Karam and Scott Pruett took turns driving the No. 14 Lexus at the historic Florida road course.
◾Karam posted the fastest lap in the No. 14 RC F GT3 with a time of 2:02.052.
◾The 3GT Racing entries marked just the second time Lexus has competed in the Twelve Hours of Sebring after actor Craig T. Nelson piloted a Lexus-powered prototype at the track in 1995.
SCOTT PRUETT, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
What does it say about your team and a new program to get back out on the track after some issues and finish this race?
'You've got to keep going. With a new program like this with Lexus and the whole program there's so much to learn and so much development that every lap is important even if you have an issue to get back out and going again is an important thing. When we're looking forward and what we're trying to do, all of those things that we're learning just is going to make us better. Fixing all of the issues and fixing all of the problems, getting out there and learning about the car – we go from here, we collect all of our data with TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and TTC (Toyota Technocraft) and 3GT we just keep moving forward.'
IAN JAMES, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
What did you think about today's race?
'Yeah, it was good. We started off the race pretty high hopes and then unfortunately the 14 car, things just kind of fell apart a little bit. We had the suspension issue and a fuel issue and you can't have any problems in these races. Both Lexus race cars to the finish – that's a first for Lexus. Hopefully the guys have fun in the sprint races and I'll come back for the last one. We learned a lot today. There's some stuff that needs to be addressed and I'm sure they will, but that was a really good step in the right direction for the team and for Lexus and the GT3 car, so I expect them to come back stronger.'
SAGE KARAM, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
Can you talk about your race and driving the Lexus RC F GT3 to the finish line in Twelve Hours of Sebring?
'It was a tough day for us in the Lexus RC F GT3. We ran into some issues today, but that's the nature of racing at this beast of a circuit at Sebring. You're going to find out what needs some work and we found that out today. You can only hold your head high and look at it as a positive. The good thing is that at Daytona we only did two hours of the race and here at Sebring we went a couple laps down but for the most part we've completed the race and all the drivers ran a good amount of time so everyone got experience. I think it's a step in the right direction. Now, we're off to some sprint races that are only about two and a half hours long and I'm looking forward to that because I think to come into these endurance races that are 24 and 12 hours right off the bat is a really, really tall task for a new car and a new team, so I'm just looking forward to the quick ones and we'll see how it goes.'
ROBERT ALON, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
How was today's race?
'We had a good race – qualified really well and we were really stoked on the pace of the Lexus. We ran well all day. I don't think any of the drivers put a foot wrong. We did a great job, but ran into some issues. It's disappointing, but it's not at the same time because we showed really good pace and it shows a lot of potential for the Lexus RC F GT3 at future races and as long as we don't run into any issues like we did and like anyone can, I think we have a great car and we're in a good place to be pushing hard.'
AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
How were your stints in the Lexus RC F GT3?
'I think we checked off another box for this 3GT Racing Lexus. I think in Daytona we showed the car's potential and we ran it for 12 hours in Sebring here and I think we showed the car had a lot of speed. We definitely had a Lexus that was really capable of winning the race and that was definitely capable of a podium finish. A few bumps in the road, but for the sake of the racing this car, I think it's really positive. I've got to thank Paul (Gentilozzi, 3GT Racing team principal) and everybody for letting me be a part of this program. I'm excited for July to get to Watkins Glen and see what we can do and what these guys can do in the next few races to really step up this program, which I know they will.'
JACK HAWKSWORTH, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
How was your race today?
'It was good. We had a pretty decent car all day and we were stronger than we were pace-wise in Daytona. Got upfront and ran one of the fastest laps of the race so the Lexus was obviously working well. It was a good day barring a couple of hiccups. The program is new and you've kind of got to expect it really, but other than that it was strong. We looked like we could certainly fight for the podium. It's disappointing when you've got a fast car and finish where you finished, but you've got to look at the positive that we've got a fast RC F GT3 and we've got many more races.'
MARK EGGER, motorsports manager, Lexus
What did you think of the Lexus RC F GT3's performance today?
'When we look back at the Rolex 24 we had just one RC F GT3 finish but getting two cars home here is very satisfying. The Lexus RC F GT3 was very competitive when it was on track. We had great lap times and looking forward now to getting into some shorter sprint races, but I think we still need to learn more about how the car operates. When we look at how the RC F GT3 is in the endurance side, we now have a few more things off our checklist, but now we're approaching a new unknown with a sprint race. Long Beach is a fast race track, it has very short run offs and concrete walls, and we're just looking forward to getting there. It's Lexus' home track being based in Southern California, but this is the first time that we'll be racing in a sprint race so we will get to learn some new things about the RC F GT3 there.'