Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix At Long Beach

by Heather Platt | Posted on Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Sebring Summary … Both Lexus RC F GT3s crossed the finish line at the Twelve Hours of Sebring in Lexus’ second appearance in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class in March. The 3GT Racing No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 finished 13th in the GTD class (28th overall) with drivers Robert Alon, Austin Cindric and Jack Hawksworth behind the wheel. Hawksworth turned the second quickest lap overall in the GTD class (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) with drivers Ian James, Sage Karam and Scott Pruett racing at the historic Florida road course.

Bubba Burger Sports

Lexus Home Race … The Lexus RC F GT3 will make its first appearance on the street course in Long Beach on Saturday in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, however Lexus is no stranger to the 11-turn circuit. In 2006, Scott Pruett and his then teammate Luis Diaz were victorious in the Grand-Am Rolex SportsCar Series race at Long Beach after leading 39 laps (of 52) in a Lexus-powered prototype. Lexus is the luxury division of Toyota, who has been the sponsor of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for the past 43 years, marking the longest-running sponsorship of its kind by any brand in America. Lexus headquarters is also located in nearby Torrance, California, just 15 miles from the Long Beach street course. 3GT Racing drivers Robert Alon, Jack Hawksworth, Sage Karam and Scott Pruett recently visited Lexus and Toyota headquarters as part of the manufacturers’ motorsports day where the drivers met team members and participated in an autograph session.

Robert Races Near Home … This weekend’s event in Long Beach is also a home race for 3GT Racing driver Robert Alon, who resides in nearby Santa Monica, California. Alon will make his second start on the streets of Long Beach after he finished sixth in the PC class in 2016. The 26-year-old qualified third in the No. 15 Lexus in the GTD class at Sebring last month, marking the best qualifying effort for 3GT Racing and the new Lexus program. Alon previously won four poles in IMSA’s PC class in 2016 and finished second in the class point standings before moving up to GTD with 3GT this season.

Winning Off the TrackMany technologies from Lexus’ racing initiatives have transferred to their production cars, including carbon fiber roofs, suspension design and vehicle handling characteristics. For Lexus in 2016, total F vehicle sales (GS F, RC F and formerly IS F) are 2,415. In addition to these models, many other Lexus vehicles offer F SPORT versions with enhanced bold styling and handling agility that are inspired by Lexus’ racing efforts, and F SPORT sales in 2016 totaled 60,269.

SAGE KARAM, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3

What are your thoughts heading to Long Beach?
“It’s going to be the first race on the schedule for us that’s not an endurance, long race. I’m looking forward to getting out to Long Beach. It’s a great track and I love street circuits so to get on those is a whole different animal than what we’ve been racing so far. It will be interesting to see how our race car performs because it’s the first time Lexus will be at Long Beach with this new RC F GT3, but I think the cars are going to do well. Every day we improve and work out some of the kinks and the car is much more prepared for Long Beach.”

ROBERT ALON, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3

Are you looking forward to racing at Long Beach?
“I’m just really excited. I think we have a really strong Lexus RC F GT3. Overall really excited and ready to get on track and see what our car can do. Every practice session, every outing in the RC F GT3, the car feels better. We’re always making progress. We’re always moving forward. The cars are getting better and better and better and we showed that at Sebring with how quick the car was so I definitely think we have a chance to be on the podium here.”

What does it mean to race so close to your hometown?

“I love the fact that I live 30 minutes away from the track and the fact that all of my friends can come and watch me do what I do since none of my friends have ever seen me race in the past. Last year (in Prototype Challenge) was the first time that all of my close family and friends were able to come out and support me and I’m excited and looking forward to that again this year.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3

What is your outlook in racing the Lexus RC F GT3 at Long Beach?
“We are really looking forward to Long Beach. It’s one of my favorite circuits. It will be the first time out with the GTD Class. We didn’t get the results we wanted at Sebring, but the Lexus RC F GT3 was strong all weekend. We think we have a competitive car and are heading to short sprint races now. Looking forward to racing for an hour and half and not really have to worry about the endurance aspect of the race so much. Just really looking forward to getting out there. It’s a great circuit, a great atmosphere and a home race for Lexus., so we’ll go out there and get a good result.”

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