Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen – Watkins Glen International - June 30 – July 2, 2017
June 28, 2017
Back at Belle Isle ... The 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3s both finished in the top-10 in the GTD class in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship race at the Raceway on Belle Isle Park in Detroit earlier this month. Scott Pruett and Sage Karam co-piloted the No. 14 Lexus entry to a sixth-place result (16th overall), marking the third consecutive top-10 finish for the driver duo. The No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 entry driven by Jack Hawksworth and Robert Alon earned a seventh-place finish (17th overall) to register the first top-10 result of the season for the No. 15 team. Hawksworth posted the second-quickest lap of the race in the GTD class with a time of 1:30.348 in the closing laps around the 2.35-mile Detroit street circuit.
Winning at Watkins Glen … After three-straight sprint races, Lexus and 3GT Racing will compete in the third IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship endurance race of the season at Watkins Glen International on Sunday. Both RC F GT3s will include patriotic liveries during the six hour endurance event just days prior to Independence Day. Lexus-powered prototypes won five races at Watkins Glen from 2004 to 2009, including four victories with veteran Pruett. Pruett has claimed six race wins, 15 podiums and earned seven pole positions in the prototype class at the upstate New York road course during his career.
Cindric Back on Track … Eighteen-year-old Austin Cindric returns to 3GT Racing and the Lexus RC F GT3 for the third endurance race of the season, sharing driving duties in the No. 14 and No. 15 Lexus race cars during the six hour event. Last year, Cindric won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race in a Toyota Camry at Watkins Glen, leading all 41 laps from the pole position to earn the victory. This season, Cindric is racing full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series along with his endurance duties with 3GT Racing.
Hall of Fame Racer: June has been a busy month for veteran racer Scott Pruett. Last week, Pruett was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, which was held at the Meritage Resort in Napa, California, and this week he is being inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Daytona Beach, Florida. Pruett’s racing resume is impressive and spans many racing series, including 22 wins and three championships when driving a Lexus-powered prototype from 2004 to 2009.
Winning Off the Track ... Many technologies from Lexus’ racing initiatives have transferred to their production cars, including carbon fiber roofs, suspension design and vehicle handling characteristics. So far in 2017, total Lexus high performance vehicle sales (GS F and RC F) have exceeded 500. 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 more than 20,000 F SPORT versions have been sold since January. The Lexus LC, the manufacturer’s world-class luxury coupe with a 10-speed transmission, debuted in dealerships across the country in May.
Lexus Racing Quotes
SCOTT PRUETT, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
Are you looking forward to racing at Watkins Glen International where you’ve had quite a bit of success during your career?
“I’ve had a lot of good, solid runs at Watkins Glen and we went and tested there recently, so I’m anxious to get back on-track there. It’s a six-hour race so the strategy changes on how you approach the race and what you do and how it all unfolds, but I’m anxious to get there and to the next few races coming up. I think those are all going to be real solid races for us.”
SAGE KARAM, No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3
What is your outlook for racing at Watkins Glen this weekend?
“I missed the test because I was running the (Indianapolis) 500, which I would’ve loved to have been at the test and learn the track because I haven’t raced at Watkins Glen since they repaved it. It’s a fun track, I’ve always liked it. I’ve only raced there once in a Prototype with (Scott) Pruett, but every lap I went around I enjoyed it. From what I heard at the test I think the car balances pretty well and I think this track is going to suit our Lexus a little better than say the street courses. I’m looking forward to these next few weeks. I’d say Watkins Glen and Lime Rock are probably the two closest races this season to my house so I think I’m going to have a couple friends come up and family so this is one that everybody that I know can come out to. So, just having everybody there doesn’t put pressure (on me), but makes it more exciting for me because I want to be able to perform in front of all of them in a positive way.”
JACK HAWKSWORTH, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
What is your outlook for the Lexus RC F GT3 at Watkins Glen after testing there recently?
“Watkins Glen is one of my favorite tracks. It’s a big, fast road course. I think the test there went quite well. We seem to be relatively competitive, but it was hard to tell with only a few cars there. I had a pretty good feeling with the car and I think Scott (Pruett) did as well. It’s nice to have been there with the RC F GT3 so we can think about everything before we go back whereas normally you turn up at a circuit and you have to figure it out over two days, but we’ve got a couple of weeks to figure out the step up. It should be a pretty good track for us and we’ll see what we can do.”
ROBERT ALON, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
How do you think the RC F GT3 will perform at Watkins Glen?
“It’s one of my favorite tracks. Since last year when they repaved it, it’s been amazing with all of the grip. It’s just very, very smooth and just grippy and enjoyable. I think we’ll be very strong at Watkins Glen. Our Lexus has shown to be very strong in flowy, high-speed corners and that’s exactly what Watkins Glen is. We’ve learned a lot about the RC F GT3 setup and what it likes and what it doesn’t. I think we’ve come a long way and we’re in a much stronger position than we were at the beginning of the year. At this point, I definitely think we’re ready to take on the six hours and we’re ready for anything that’s going to come up.”
AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 14/No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3
What is your strategy for being the third driver racing the No. 14 and No. 15 RC F GT3s this weekend?
“With a six hour race it’s kind of at the point where you don’t really need three drivers but it’s a long ways for two so really my job this weekend is to be a relief driver for the full-time guys. I will get in during the middle of the race to do a stint or two to keep everybody fresh and ready to go and keep the cars running strong and hopefully one of them gets on the podium. It’s been three months since I’ve done a right hand turn so I’m excited to get back to some road racing. The last time I was at Watkins Glen I won a race so hopefully I can keep that trend going. I wouldn’t expect anything less. I think the performance of the Lexus’ have been really strong and they’ve been really coming close to that first podium and that first win from what I’ve seen this year.”