Courtesy: Lexus

Triumph for Lexus, Vasser Sullivan Chronicles at Sebring Eternity Records

By Antonio Perez

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Key Takeaways
  • Lexus and Vasser Sullivan's triumph at Sebring International Raceway marks a historic milestone in their racing journey. Against formidable competition and grueling conditions, they emerged victorious, showcasing their skill, determination, and teamwork
  • The collaboration between Lexus and Vasser Sullivan resulted in the creation of Eternity Records at Sebring, setting new benchmarks for endurance racing excellence. From blistering lap times to flawless pit stops, every aspect of their performance resonates with the spirit of endurance and resilience
  • The victory at Sebring cements Lexus and Vasser Sullivan's legacy as forces to be reckoned with in the world of motorsport. It exemplifies their unwavering commitment to innovation, performance, and pushing the boundaries of what's possible on the racetrack

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On March 16, 2024, the Twelve Hours of Sebring race was held at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. The No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3, driven by Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat, and Kyle Kirkwood, secured a victory for Vasser Sullivan. This is a significant achievement for both Lexus and Vasser Sullivan, as it marks their first win in the 12-hour event.

Courtesy: Lexus

At the start of the race on Saturday, Hawksworth led the GT pack and secured the first pole position for Lexus and Vasser Sullivan in the history of the Twelve Hours of Sebring during Friday’s qualifying session. Although he maintained the lead throughout his stint, the No. 14 Lexus incurred a drive-through penalty following the first pit stop due to a pit lane infringement. Nonetheless, the trio of drivers made an impressive comeback and regained the lead in the GTD PRO category, thanks to a carefully devised strategy implemented by the Vasser Sullivan crew. Together, they dominated the race for 133 laps on the 17-turn, 3.74-mile circuit, earning the team its third endurance victory in the GTD PRO class.

Courtesy: Lexus

Hawksworth, Barnicoat, and Kirkwood have achieved another victory at Sebring, which adds to their impressive track record. They previously secured the first-ever endurance race win for Lexus and Vasser Sullivan at the 2022 Petit Le Mans, and also emerged victorious at the 2023 Six Hours of the Glen. It’s worth noting that the same trio finished as runners-up at Sebring just one year ago.

Lexus and Vasser Sullivan achieved success at Sebring in 2020 by winning a sprint event added to the IMSA calendar, with Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz coming out on top.

On Saturday’s race, Parker Thompson, Frankie Montecalvo, and Telitz finished 13th in the GTD class. Thompson started from second in the GTD field and quickly rose to the class lead at the beginning of the race. Despite leading for 54 laps and maintaining a top-10 position for most of the day, the No. 12 team faced multiple on-track incidents during the 12-hour race, which ultimately led to their 13th-place finish.

The Vasser Sullivan Lexus team is all set to participate in the Grand Prix of Long Beach, which is scheduled for Saturday, April 20. For complete coverage of all racing activities, fans can follow Lexus Racing on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok by using the hashtag #LexusPerformance.

Driver Reflections from Vasser Sullivan

Jack Hawksworth, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3

Reflecting on the challenges faced during the race’s climax:

“The battle was intense, as we had anticipated. Endurance races demand flawless execution from every team member to stand a chance of reaching the finish line. Despite encountering obstacles, we demonstrated significant progress this season. Today’s victory signifies a remarkable turnaround. Each member of the team exhibited excellence, and our performance remained steadfast throughout the day. The pit crew executed their tasks flawlessly, while Ben Barnicoat and Kyle Kirkwood showcased exceptional prowess on the track. Our resurgence culminated in a thrilling climax, and I commend every individual associated with Lexus and Vasser Sullivan for this triumph.”

Ben Barnicoat, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3

On the significance of winning the 12 Hours of Sebring:

“This victory holds immense significance for both Lexus and Vasser Sullivan. Our collective efforts have been geared towards attaining perfection, and today’s performance exemplifies our relentless pursuit of excellence. Despite encountering early-season challenges, our performance at Sebring underscores our championship pedigree. This victory serves as a testament to our resilience and sets the stage for further success. As we set our sights on Daytona, we carry forward the momentum from this triumph.”

Kyle Kirkwood, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3

Reflecting on the significance of the Sebring triumph:

“The tension was palpable during the race as Jack pursued victory with unwavering determination. Our triumph today echoes the win at Petit, showcasing our ability to excel under pressure. Proud of our team’s collective effort and honored to be associated with Lexus and Vasser Sullivan.”

Parker Thompson, No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3

Sharing thoughts on the race:

Despite unfortunate circumstances, our team demonstrated unwavering resolve throughout the Sebring 12-hour race. As we transition to the sprint season, I am confident in our collective capabilities and remain optimistic about our prospects. Congratulations to the No. 14 team on their victory in the GTD PRO class.

Frankie Montecalvo, No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3

Reflecting on the race:

“It was a gratifying day for the entire team. Heartiest congratulations to the No. 14 car on their triumph in the Sebring 12-hour race. Our team showcased commendable performance, maintaining a strong presence at the front for a significant duration. We perceive every challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow. As we shift our focus to Long Beach, we remain committed to our pursuit of excellence with the Lexus RC F GT3.”

Aaron Telitz, No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3

Reflecting on the race:

“I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to the Vasser Sullivan team and Lexus for their monumental triumph in the 12 Hours of Sebring with the No. 14 car. Even though we faced some early setbacks, we kept going and managed to secure a respectable finish. Looking forward, I am eagerly anticipating reuniting with the team for the Six Hours of the Glen. We are determined to achieve success in the upcoming races.”

About Lexus

The Lexus RC F GT3 is about to start its eighth season in the GTD class, and its third in the GTD PRO category, competing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. With the RC F GT3, Lexus and Vasser Sullivan have achieved 13 victories, 39 podium finishes, and 19 pole positions over the past six seasons. Moreover, Lexus won its first full-season IMSA GTD PRO Manufacturers Championship with two wins and podium finishes in nine out of 11 races in 2023.

Lexus is devoted to creating extraordinary experiences for its discerning clients through bold design, innovative technology, and exhilarating performance. The luxury marque began its journey in 1989 with a vision of pursuing perfection. Since then, Lexus has developed a diverse lineup of luxury vehicles to cater to the needs of connoisseurs worldwide, spanning over 90 countries. In the United States, Lexus models are available through 244 dealerships, offering a comprehensive range of luxury automobiles. With eight models featuring Lexus Hybrid Drive, the brand stands out as a trailblazer in the automotive industry.

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In the crucible of Sebring, where legends are made and records are shattered, Lexus and Vasser Sullivan have etched their names into the annals of motorsport history. Their triumph at Sebring Eternity Records is a testament to the relentless pursuit of excellence and the enduring spirit of competition." Experience the thrill of victory and the euphoria of breaking new ground as Lexus and Vasser Sullivan chronicle their triumphs at Sebring Eternity Records, leaving an indelible mark on the world of endurance racing.