Lexus and AIM VASSER SULLIVAN (AVS) will compete in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday with two RC F GT3 entries at Florida’s historic Sebring International Raceway.
Lexus currently ranks second in the IMSA GTD manufacturer point standings following top-five finishes for both AIM VASSER SULLIVAN RC F GT3 entries in the first round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Daytona. The AVS No. 12 team currently ranks second in the GTD driver and team championship points, while the AVS No. 14 team sits fifth in the standings.
In the team’s first-ever IMSA event in January, the all-American driver lineup of Townsend Bell, Frankie Montecalvo, Jeff Segal and Aaron Telitz earned a second-place podium result in the GTD class to mark the highest finish in an endurance event for the RC F GT3 since joining IMSA competition in 2017. Jack Hawksworth, Richard Heistand, Nick Cassidy and Austin Cindric teamed up to finish fifth, giving AVS two top-five finishes in the grueling 24-hour event that was red flagged multiple times due to inclement weather conditions. The Lexus RC F GT3s combined to lead a total of 53 laps with the No. 12 leading 31 laps, while the No. 14 led 22 circuits around Daytona International Speedway’s road course.
Full-season drivers Bell and Montecalvo will team up in the No. 12 Lexus at Sebring with two-time Indy Lights race winner Telitz, who is slated to run all four IMSA endurance events with AVS this season. Bell has finished on the podium three times at Sebring, including a win there in 2012 while competing in the American Le Mans Series. Montecalvo also earned a runner-up podium finish in the historic race in 2011.
Hawksworth and Heistand will race in the No. 14 RC F GT3 with endurance co-driver Philipp Frommenwiler, who has experience competing behind the wheel of the RC F GT3. Frommenwiler previously raced the Lexus RC F GT3 in three IMSA endurance events during the 2018 season and in Europe’s International GT Open with Emil Frey racing in 2017, registering four wins.
The Lexus RC F GT3 will make its third Twelve Hours of Sebring appearance this weekend. Last year, the RC F GT3 led 53 laps, ran the quickest single circuit of the race in the GTD class and finished fifth following 12 hours of competition. Hawksworth led 40 laps during the 2018 event and finished fifth, while Frommenwiler led seven circuits in the RC F GT3. Lexus previously raced at Sebring in 1995 when actor Craig T. Nelson co-piloted a Lexus-powered Prototype to a 14th-place finish in class that year.
TOWNSEND BELL, No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3
What are your impressions of Sebring International Raceway?
“Sebring is one of my favorite tracks. Rough, old school, and a challenge day and night. The AIM VASSER SULLIVAN team had a productive test day there in the Lexus RC F GT3 working through a number of items and we’re ready to go.”
FRANKIE MONTECALVO, No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3
Does AIM VASSER SULLIVAN have momentum heading into Sebring after such a strong finish at the Rolex 24 at Daytona?
“We’re definitely going to come into the Sebring race taking what we learned from the Rolex 24. As a new team, the more track time the better for us, so it was good to test at Sebring a few weeks ago. It was very beneficial. The RC F GT3 felt great. The car has great characteristics and I think it feels even better than it did at Daytona. I’m looking forward to racing at Sebring. I have a lot of history there – some good and some bad, but I’d love to go in with this team and fight for another podium in the Twelve Hours of Sebring.”
AARON TELITZ, No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3
Are you looking forward to racing in the Twelve Hours of Sebring this weekend with the Lexus RC F GT3?
“It’s great to be going to Sebring with the Lexus RC F GT3. I’ve haven’t raced at Sebring in a long time, but I’ve done a lot of testing in Indy Lights and USF2000 cars on the shorter track. It was great to feel the bumps again during our recent test and the speed in Turn 1. It was my first time running turns 1 and 17 in quite some years. It’s just an exciting track. It’s flat in the middle of Florida but, in my opinion, one of the more exciting tracks in North America.”
JACK HAWKSWORTH, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
What is your outlook racing the RC F GT3 at Sebring on Saturday?
“I’m looking forward to Sebring. It’s one of my favorite races and the track is obviously much more complicated than Daytona. There’s a lot more turns and it will be a lot hotter so it will be more difficult and bumpy and a bigger task for the drivers and the teams. The Lexus RC F GT3 ran well in the Rolex 24 so hopefully we can continue that momentum going into Sebring.”
RICHARD HEISTAND, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
Are you looking forward to racing in the Twelve Hours of Sebring this weekend with your hometown nearby?
“I am from Orlando, so to me, Sebring is my home track. I have only competed there a couple of times, but I really like racing there and I know the RC F GT3 is good at Sebring. It’s a proper race track, so I’m excited.”
PHILIPP FROMMENWILER, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
Are you excited to be racing the Lexus RC F GT3 again at Sebring this year?
“I’m very much looking forward to racing for AIM VASSER SULLIVAN and I’m really excited to be back for the Twelve Hours of Sebring. It’s my third Sebring race so I have a little experience at the track, and I look forward to the new partnership. The team has shown great pace so far with the RC F GT3. The Lexus also showed good pace last year at Sebring, so if we can repeat that we should be in a good position for the race. The team was really strong at Daytona so I’m looking forward to being a part of it and being back in IMSA racing.”