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Lexus 3GT Racing COTA race report

3GT Racing’s No.14 Lexus RC F GT3 finished ninth in the GTD class and 21st overall at the IMSA WeatherTech Championship race at Circuit of The Americas to give the team and Lexus its second straight top-10 result.

Scott Pruett and Sage Karam co-piloted the No.14 Lexus entry with Karam turning the quickest lap time in the No.14 of 2:09.693 on lap 24 on the way to a top ten finish.

“We learned a lot." said Pruett "In my stint the Lexus RC F GT3 was really loose, I mean really loose and we don’t know why. We kept freeing the car up all weekend because we were fighting understeer. Track conditions changed, I’m not sure. We hung onto it and did the best we could. Sage (Karam) got in and they put two degrees of rear wing in it and it was still loose and then on the second stop they put two more degrees of rear wing into it, which was pretty much max and it ran reasonable. This is all part of the learning. We have a lot to learn here. It’s a very unique and fun track to drive and when things are hooked up it’s a blast and when you’re chasing it it’s not as much fun. We’re going to just keep working at it and move on to Detroit.”

Added Karam, “We came here with a bit higher expectations and it was kind of disappointing to get ninth place. The team worked really hard, but missing the two days of testing here really, really hurt us and we played catch up the whole weekend. We were getting our RC F GT3 better each and every time out on track and just ran out of laps and time. I was feeling good in the race, the bag of water I was drinking from split open so I had no water the whole race and it got hot inside my car. I can’t remember the last time I was this hot getting out of a race car – COTA is a hot place and to have no water in the inside it was like a sauna. I’ve got to give a big hats off to the 3GT Racing team for going back to the shop and perfecting the pit stops. The pit stops from here compared to Long Beach were stellar. The driver changes were smooth and everybody is doing the right thing. I just want to get Lexus a win here soon. I know we can. We’ve just got to find that one thing with our Lexus RC F GT3 and I’m confident we’ll find it.”

The 3GT Racing No.15 Lexus RC F GT3 entry driven by Robert Alon and Jack Hawksworth earned a 13th-place result, 25th overall, with Hawksworth posting the fastest lap in the No.15 with a time of 2:09.398 on lap 21.

“As far as teamwork and drivers and everything I think we did a really good job." said Alon "We got second in qualifying and if we hadn’t been a half a millimeter too low we would’ve started second and probably would’ve got a podium, but because of that we struggled. Track position here at COTA is very important. It’s very hard to pass and drafting is pretty much non-existent. We just need to get a little luck with everything going right. We are getting really strong as a unit, the team is getting strong by learning more about these Lexus’ and we’re getting better. We’re going to podium soon, we just need the right situation.”

Hawksworth added, “It was a tough day. It was always going to be tough with so much green starting from the back it was just very hard to pass. Robert (Alon) did a nice job in the first stint. We had a bit of a problem with the driver change – I didn’t quite get my belt in and we lost some time there. Then, right after the yellow came out and with that restart I knew I really had to be super aggressive and make stuff happen. It was going pretty well and I got by two or three cars the first couple of laps of that restart just pushing like crazy because I knew I had to at that point, and when I passed a BMW there was a GTLM car right in front of him and when I passed the BMW I just slightly hit the rear of the Porsche and it came around. It was one of those things where I just clipped it, but when you spin a car from another class you’re probably going to get a drive through so I deserved that. After that we went out and the pace seemed pretty good. We pitted at the end to try for an early pit and hoped for a yellow and there were none so I had to save fuel like crazy at the end of the race to bring my RC F GT3 home. It was great to see the speed in my Lexus and got the third quickest lap of the race again and just need to try and pull these races together and we’ve not done it yet.”

Unofficial race results

*From team media release

05/08/17

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