Given its inordinate length, the IMSA WeatherTech racing series’ 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race has a long history of participation by “guest drivers” from other motorsports disciplines such as IndyCar, NASCAR and even Formula 1. Lexus has played a major role in that history. During last decade’s heyday of the Daytona Prototype series, the quasi-official Ganassi Racing with Félix Sabatés Lexus team featured such racing luminaries as Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti, the late Dan Wheldon, Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe, Casey Mears, Alex Lloyd and Jamie McMurray as drivers in the twice-round-the-clock American classic. In 2006, the Michael Shank Racing Lexus-powered team brought on Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. as guest drivers.
For 2020 the tradition continues as NASCAR stalwart Kyle Busch joins Lexus Motorsports North America-affiliated team AIM Vasser Sullivan in contesting the GTD-class podium in one of two Lexus RC F GT3 racers. As a Lexus news release reminds us, Busch is the winningest driver in Toyota history with 186 victories across all three NASCAR national series:
“Kyle has been a fixture in our Toyota family for over a decade and is the winningest driver in the Toyota NASCAR program. He has accomplished so many firsts for Toyota throughout his tenure and we couldn’t be happier to have him join AIM Vasser Sullivan and drive the Lexus RC F GT3 in a world class event like the Rolex 24 at Daytona,” said Lisa Materazzo, vice president marketing, Lexus Division.
As for the rest of Lexus and the AIM team’s 2020 season and Daytona roster, at this point only Jack Hawksworth has been confirmed to remain as one of the team’s core drivers, while SportsCar365 asserts that fellow Toyota NASCAR star Denny Hamlin was originally designated as AIM Vasser Sullivan’s second Lexus guest driver, but was precluded from doing so due to expected shoulder surgery during NASCAR’s off-season.