NO. 14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN LEXUS RC F GT3 OVERCOMES EXREME HEAT TO FINISH SIXTH IN NORTHEAST GRAND PRIX

Monday, July 22, 2019

Race Summary No. 14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3:
In what can only be described as unbearably hot conditions, Jack Hawksworth and Richard Heistand drove the No. 14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3 to a sixth place finish today in the Northeast Grand Prix on the historic 1.5-mile, 7-turn Lime Rock Park permanent road course. Heistand, who qualified the car sixth earlier in the day, started fifth after another competitor was penalized. He held station for the entire first stint handing the car over to Hawksworth at approximately the 1:53 mark of the 2 hour and 40 minute contest. Hawksworth rejoined the race in sixth place and quickly discovered that the air blower to his helmet was not working. Never-the-less, he fought through the adversity during the second stint, only losing one spot, until quick work by his No. 14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN crew repaired the problem during their second and final stop. Hawksworth drove valiantly through the extreme conditions and picked up one position during the closing minutes of the race when another car went off track and had to pit.

NO. 14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Driver Race Quotes:
Jack Hawksworth:

“To be honest, the start of the race, Richard (Heistand) did well in qualifying and we ended up starting fifth. It was very warm - I think he was running fifth most of his race stint. He never lost a position until the end. He came into the pits in sixth. When I got into the Lexus RC F GT3, we had an issue with the driver change getting the radio connected and lost time in the pits. Then we lost the blower (to my helmet), it came disconnected. It’s the only air you get in the cockpit. It got really, really hot. That first stint felt like the longest stint ever. Then we stopped and the guys did a really good job to get the blower fixed, so at least I had some cool air. We got back out there and were running seventh. I think the Mercedes went off track and I managed to get him there at the end and we finished sixth. Of all the times to lose a blower, this was the worst race it could possibly happen. Just bad fortune really for something which rarely never breaks. To have it break on the hottest day of the year is unbelievable.”

Richard Heistand:
“Hot day. Difficult conditions and the track doesn’t particularly suit our car. I think we did a reasonably good job under the conditions. We had an issue with our air blower. It was just tough, but everyone’s got tracks that suit their car and this isn’t really one that suits ours. We did what we could and got some points. We will go to the next one at Road America.”

 

NO. 12 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN LEXUS RC F GT3 FINISHES 13th

Race Summary No. 12 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3:
Townsend Bell and Frankie Montecalvo battled the heat and a gear shift issue to finish 13th in the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. Montecalvo, who qualified the No. 12 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3 car 13th, but started 12th, due to a penalty to another car. He drove another excellent first stint and handed the car to Bell with approximately an hour and 53 minutes remaining in 10th place. However, following the driver change and service to the car, Bell immediately drove it behind the wall. The problem was later diagnosed as a gear shift issue. The No. 12 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN crew made the necessary repairs and Bell rejoined the race, albeit several laps down. The team continued to battle and finished the race gaining valuable championship points.

NO. 12 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Driver Race Quotes:
Townsend Bell:

“It was hot. Hardest last place of my life. Frankie (Montecalvo) did a good job there on the start -- we just had a gear shift issue. We lost ten minutes and at that point, we were just driving, hoping someone would fall out. Nobody did. I was dying in there, heat-wise. We got to the ten-minutes to go mark and we put Frankie (Montecalvo) back in - it’s his home race - to finish it. We will move on to the next one. That’s all you can do.”

Frankie Montecalvo:
“The team, and Townsend (Bell), did a phenomenal job. It was excruciating heat out there. But we hung in there. We didn’t qualify particularly well. Ended up having decent pace there at the end, and that’s when I was very surprised at what Townsend could do. We were right there at the end in the pace of our Lexus RC F GT3 to the leaders. I wish we didn’t have any issues, but we didn’t get a DNF. The team put the car back together. We lost minimal time, so great job to the AIM VASSER SULLIVAN guys. Another race finished. Wasn’t where we wanted to be, but again we will take that checkered flag any day.” 

Fast Facts:

The No. 12 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3 is now fourth in the overall IMSA GTD championship standings with 150 points. The No. 14 AIM VASSER SUILLIAN Lexus RC F GT3 is fifth with 147 points.

Lexus sits second in the overall GTD manufacturer standings with 177 points, just seven points out of first.

In the first seven races (14 starts) of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series, AIM VASSER SULLIVAN has earned two wins (Mid-Ohio and Detroit), five podiums, eight top-five finishes and 11 top-10 showings.

The AVS No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3 has three podium finishes, four top-five showings and sixth top-10 placements in the first seven races of the season. The No. 14 RC F GT3 has both of the team’s wins, four top-five, five top-10 finishes.

The Northeast Grand Prix was the fourth of seven races in the inaugural IMSA GTD Sprint Cup Championship. Hawksworth and Heistand are third the GTD Sprint Cup point standings with 114 points, just two points out of first. Bell and Montecalvo are fifth in the Sprint Cup standings with 104 points.

After three of the four IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup events during the 2019 IMSA season the No. 12 AVS entry is tied for sixth in the Endurance Cup standings. The No. 14 entry is tied for ninth. The final Endurance Cup event will be the Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia on October, 12.

Next Race:
Next up for AIM VASSER SULLIVAN will be Road America, August 2-4, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The race will be broadcast on NBCSN starting at 6:00 pm (EDT) August 4.