Courtesy: Lexus


By Antonio Perez

Celebrate a triumph in automotive excellence as Lexus secures the 2023 GTD PRO Manufacturers Championship

Key Takeaways
  • Lexus dominates the GTD PRO category, clinching the Manufacturers Championship for 2023.
  • Explore the innovative engineering and performance that propelled Lexus to victory.
  • Witness the culmination of Lexus’s dedication to precision and performance on the racetrack.

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Barnicoat, Hawksworth, and Vasser Sullivan Secure Chauffeur and Ensemble Titles: BRASELTON, Georgia (October 14, 2023) – Lexus triumphed in the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD PRO Manufacturers Championship at the Petit Le Mans held at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Saturday. Additionally, Ben Barnicoat and Jack Hawksworth clinched the GTD PRO Drivers championship, while the Vasser Sullivan No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 secured the GTD PRO Team title. This achievement signifies the inaugural full-season IMSA GT titles for both Lexus and Vasser Sullivan, as well as for Hawksworth and Barnicoat.

Courtesy: Lexus

Throughout the season, Hawksworth and Barnicoat achieved podium placements in nine out of the eleven races, including notable victories at the Long Beach street circuit and Watkins Glen International. Hawksworth also claimed the top spot in the GTD PRO class with four pole positions this season, earning the 2023 Motul Pole Award for the highest number of poles. Since its inception in 2017, Hawksworth has been an integral part of the Lexus GT program, while Barnicoat has piloted the RC F GT3 for two seasons. Endurance racers Kyle Kirkwood and Mike Conway further contributed to the Manufacturer’s title by participating in endurance races with the Lexus RC F GT3 this season.

Courtesy: Lexus

Previously, Lexus and Vasser Sullivan secured the 2020 IMSA GTD Sprint Cup Championship, emerging as the premier team across all sprint races in that season.

Aaron Telitz and Frankie Montecalvo concluded the 2023 GTD PRO season in third place in the IMSA GTD championship. During the four endurance events this year, they were joined by endurance racer Parker Thompson. The highlight of the season for the No. 12 RC F GT3 occurred at Watkins Glen International in June, where the trio dominated and emerged victorious in the six-hour endurance event, marking the first double victory in the history of the Lexus and Vasser Sullivan program.


The 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season commences with the Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 27 and 28. To stay updated on all the racing action, follow Lexus Racing on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, utilizing hashtags such as #LexusRCFGT3, #LexusPerformance, and #LexusRacing.

Statements from Vasser Sullivan Drivers


What are your thoughts on winning Lexus’ inaugural GT championship in your seventh season?

“It’s been an extraordinary journey. Personally, I’ve been part of this program since its inception in late 2016, witnessing its growth amidst various team changes and personnel transitions over the past seven years. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing; we’ve encountered numerous challenges along the way. Yet, witnessing its evolution has been truly remarkable. I’m immensely grateful to Lexus, TRD, and Vasser Sullivan for their unwavering support and trust throughout this journey. Winning a championship alongside remarkable drivers like Ben (Barnicoat) and Kyle (Kirkwood) is a dream fulfilled for me this year. It’s been a rewarding journey, and I’m immensely proud of our accomplishments.”

Courtesy: Lexus

What significance does winning the 2023 GTD PRO championship hold for you, particularly with the Lexus RC F GT3?

“It holds immense significance to clinch the championship with the RC F GT3. I’ve been behind the wheel of this car since 2016, so securing a championship with it feels particularly special. Over these seven years, our team, led by Jimmy and Sulli and everyone at TRD, has continually pushed the boundaries, extracting more performance from the car each season. It’s a testament to our collective effort, striving for incremental improvements over time. Winning with this car is truly special. While it’s an advantage to be intimately familiar with a car that’s been around for a while, it’s also a testament to our team’s ability to adapt and innovate, consistently striving for improvement.”


What are your reflections as you clinch the GTD PRO championship in your second season with Lexus and Vasser Sullivan?

“In 2021, I made my IMSA debut with a different team, but that’s where I first encountered the individuals at Lexus Racing and Vasser Sullivan. If you had told me then that I’d be a GTD PRO champion within two years, I might not have believed it. Nevertheless, that’s always been our goal, driving force, and why I was brought into this program. It’s been an incredible journey. I consider myself fortunate to race alongside Jack (Hawksworth), who is undoubtedly one of the finest talents in IMSA at present. Racing alongside him, supported by the entire Vasser Sullivan engineering team, with an exceptional Lexus RC F GT3, has been immensely rewarding. Securing the title in my second year is truly gratifying, and I look forward to continuing this journey and hopefully adding more titles.”


What does witnessing the team’s success this year mean to you?

“It’s truly remarkable. I’ve been with the Vasser Sullivan team for four Petit Le Mans races now. I initially started with the 12 car before swiftly transitioning to the 14 car. Witnessing the growth of this team over the years has been phenomenal. The strides they’ve made, the improvements, and their rising stature within the sport is commendable. It’s particularly satisfying to witness the dominance of Vasser Sullivan and Lexus this year, especially against manufacturers with decades of involvement in the sport. I take pride in being part of this journey. Sulli (Sullivan) and Jimmy (Vasser) embraced me in 2020 during uncertain times due to Covid, and since then, we’ve shared numerous successes. I’m excited to continue this journey with them and witness further triumphs.”

JEFF BAL, Senior Manager | Lexus Motorsports, Experiential Marketing & Sponsorships

What are your thoughts on Vasser Sullivan’s achievement of securing Lexus’ first GT championship?

“This is a monumental achievement for all involved. Congratulations to Jack (Hawksworth), Ben (Barnicoat), Kyle (Kirkwood), and everyone at Vasser Sullivan on this remarkable championship win. Their efforts extend beyond the racetrack, resonating with the 245 dealers and nearly 400 Lexus enthusiasts who cheered them on during the event. The consistent growth and attention to detail displayed by the program year after year are truly commendable. Winning this championship with the Lexus RC F GT3 is an extraordinary feat.”

How would you describe the relationship with Vasser Sullivan?

“It’s been an incredible journey marked by mutual trust and collaboration. It was a leap of faith for all involved when we embarked on this journey. We faced challenges, especially with a car initially designed for something other than GT3 racing. However, the partnership with Jimmy and Sulli proved to be instrumental. Their leadership and the cohesive team effort were evident, mirroring the camaraderie among the drivers. Just as we value our relationship with our dealer network,

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“Winning the GTD PRO Manufacturers Championship is a testament to Lexus’s commitment to excellence.” - Lexus spokesperson.