Lexus Racing Recap: No Luck at Twelve Hours of Sebring

Lexus & AIM Vasser Sullivan (AVS) Racing suffered through the Twelve Hours of Sebring this past weekend, with both cars struggling through the half-day endurance event.

The #12 Lexus RC F GT3 with drivers Townsend Bell, Frankie Montecalvo and Aaron Telitz finished ninth in the GTD class. After the race, Bell said it was “probably the toughest ninth place I’ve ever had. Just never really had the pace frankly on long runs.”

The #14 RC F GT3 driven by Jack Hawksworth, Richard Heistand and Philipp Frommenwiler required extensive repairs after an on-track incident. The #14 car finished 15th in the GTD class.

After a scintillating race in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, the No. 12 and the No. 14 AIM Vasser-Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, who were extremely competitive throughout, ended in 3rd and 6th place (19th and 22nd overall) after a premature end in the 24 Hours in Daytona after red flags were waved due to the torrential rain.

Red flags also came down as well earlier in the race, forcing everyone to a stop for some time but were able to clear the standing water. After red flags came down for the final time with just under two hours of the race left due to treacherous track conditions in the rain, it was deemed to dangerous to press on. Once there was no point to clear the standing water with just 10 minutes left in the race, the race stopped as is and racers were classified as they were.

Regardless of the conditions, both the No. 12 and No. 14 Lexus cars drove spectacularly! They were extremely competitive throughout and pressed on despite the rain. Being very consistent on track, adding on to the fact that they battled very well with rivals, it was a job well done. They were also the best overall team in the GTD class which is a huge achievement. Congratulations to the drivers, team and everyone in AIM Vasser-Sullivan Lexus.

No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3 - Finished 3rd place (19th overall)
- Townsend Bell (USA)
- Jeff Segal (USA)
- Frankie Montecalvo (USA)
- Aaron Telitz (USA)

No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 - Finished 6th place (22nd overall)
- Nick Cassidy (NZ)
- Jack Hawksworth (UK)
- Richard Heistand (USA)
- Austin Cindric (USA)
Good start even I am worried from this super GT step, is that means no LCF ? Why they didn't put the 2 together ?
I was at the race courtesty of Lexus Racing USA... I'll share some pics and vids soon. The RC F's look amazing in person especially at night. Unfortunately it was cold and windy all day Saturday and there was a 9 hour rain delay Sunday. Sunday was so bad I didn't even go back but glad to see them place 3rd!
The Toyota Global Newsroom has posted its annual Outline of Motorsports Activities for 2019. On the Lexus side of things, the Super GT series in Japan should see the final season for the GT500 Class Lexus LC 500; a trio of RC F GT3s in the GT300 Class; a Lexus LC for the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race's SP-PRO Class; and a number of "customer motorsports" teams competing throughout the world in Lexus RC F GT3s in series such as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the U.S. (AIM Vasser Sullivan Team) and "to be determined" European and Asian (outside Japan) teams.

For more information:
Some informative commentary on the above from

Lexus reveals refreshed 2019 Super GT line-up
By: Rachit Thukral
Feb 7, 2019
Lexus has refreshed its Super GT line-up for the 2019 season following the departures of IndyCar-bound Felix Rosenqvist and Kamui Kobayashi.

As reported by, rising star Sho Tsuboi has been promoted to the GT500 ranks following a stellar 2018 during season during which he dominated the Japanese F3 championship and scored several podiums in Super GT's GT300 category.

Tsuboi has been drafted in at the Bandoh team alongside incumbent and former Super Formula champion Yuji Kunimoto. He effectively takes the place of Kenta Yamashita, who has switched to Team LeMans alongside Kazuya Oshima to fill the seat vacated by Rosenqvist.

Lexus has also handed Yuichi Nakayama a break in Super GT’s flagship category, the multiple GT300 race winner being paired with Heikki Kovalainen at Sard in place of Kobayashi.

Meanwhile, TOM’S has elected to keep an unchanged line-up for both its cars after narrowly missing out on the 2018 title.

2017 champions Nick Cassidy and Ryo Hirakawa will drive the team’s #37 LC500, while Kazuki Nakajima and Yuhi Sekiguchi will again share the sister #36 car.

Cerumo, too, has decided to retain both Hiroaki Ishiura and Yuji Tachikawa, despite suggestions that the latter could retire at the age of 43 after three titles and 18 race wins.

As part of the reshuffle, both Kobayashi and Rosenqvist will leave Super GT after one season each.

Kobayashi, who will continue in Super Formula in 2019 with KCMG, told last month that he wants to focus on winning the Le Mans 24 Hours and the WEC title, while Rosenqvist's new IndyCar deal leaves no room for a dual campaign.

James Rossiter, who took part in two races last year and had been a regular fixture in Lexus' line-up before, has completely dropped out of the Toyota camp and is expected to jump ship to Nissan instead, with an announcement expected on Saturday.

2019 will mark the last season for Lexus in Super GT, before Toyota takes over from its luxury car brand and brings the Supra back to the series for the first time in more than a decade.
Reading that article made me wonder whether the Panis-Barthez Tech 1 Racing team was a second Lexus RC F GT3 team in Blancpain GT Europe racing or a replacement for the successful Emil Frey Racing. Sadly, it seems that the latter is the case. From Sportscar 365:

Tech 1 takes over from Emil Frey Racing as the main Lexus partner team in Europe, with the Swiss operation instead switching to Lamborghini machinery for the upcoming season.
Preceding that story comes word that Panis-Barthez Competition and Tech 1 team principal Fabien Barthez will also be one of the team's expected 4 drivers. (The others are still to be announced).

Fun fact: Fabien Barthez is actually a footballer (soccer player to us Yanks)-turned-racecar driver. And he was no mere dilettante. According to Wikipedia, he is considered the 4th-best French goalkeeper of all time.

And now for something completely different... Automobile magazine's Benjamin Hunting lived up to his name (sorry, couldn't resist...) and located the Lexus Cup Challenge in Minden, Ontario, Canada, where 1st-gen Lexus IS 300 automatics are outfitted with spiked Hankook IpikeRS tires and rented out to would-be ice racers. Here's the story:
That looks both terrifying and extremely fun!
We had a nice group at the 12 Hours of Sebring. I was coming from Cali so couldn't make it. Thanks to Lexus Racing USA for the hospitality.

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