mikeavelli

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Yup!

It's crazy to think that it took all these years for Toyota/Lexus to join the GT classes of the WEC. The RC F GT3 has been out for almost a decade. You would have thought Toyota would have done something with the GR Supra, but I digress.

This will be a transitional period until the LFR GT3 comes in 2026. Toyota/Lexus cannot abandon the class and wait for the LFR GT3 to be developed because the ACO (which is the main sanctioning body for the WEC) will give away Toyota's slots to any other manufacturer that's in the hypercar class.

If that was confusing, basically, every Hypercar manufacturer like Toyota, Ferrari, Cadillac/GM, Peugeot, Porsche/VW, Glickenhaus (well, they're about to leave soon) are granted two slots in the LMGT3 class. However, if you don't capitalize on it, those slots will be given away to a manufacturer that is not in the Hypercar class. Who would take those spots? Well, manufacturers like Aston Martin, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz all want to participate. It is likely Aston Martin will get two spots regardless of the presence or absence of the Hypercar manufacturers given how dedicated they are to the GT classes in previous years. However, manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and McLaren will try to capitalize on the empty slots if anyone from the Hypercar manufacturers chooses to not participate in the LMGT3 class. And if you snooze, you lose.

For this reason, Lexus is bringing in the RC F GT3 to the WEC for two years to serve as a transitional period, before the LFR GT3 comes in 2026.

Thanks for that
 

BoziT

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I just realized the upcoming Mustang GT3's Coyote V8 is also 5.4L in displacement like the RC F GT3, don't know if this is a coincidence or not lol.
That's mostly a coincidence as both are modified versions of a 5.0-Liter production V8.

The 2UR-GSE in the Lexus RC F GT3 has a bore of 95.4mm and a stroke of 94.5mm for a total displacement of 5404cc.
2UR-GSERace.jpg
 
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Since Mike is always out here capturing us at the track, I figured that this photo from Watkins Glen would be appropriate to show him in his element.
View attachment 7939
That's mostly a coincidence as both are modified versions of a 5.0-Liter production V8.

The 2UR-GSE in the Lexus RC F GT3 has a bore of 95.4mm and a stroke of 94.5mm for a total displacement of 5404cc.
View attachment 7941

NOOOOOOOO WAYYYY THE LEGEND HIMSELF BOZI IS ACTUALLY HERE WITH US.

I've been a long time follower of yours on Instagram and on Twitter/X. I'm such a fan of what you all do!

@mikeavelli did you convince this man to join LE? If so, HOW? 😭😭
 

BoziT

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NOOOOOOOO WAYYYY THE LEGEND HIMSELF BOZI IS ACTUALLY HERE WITH US.

I've been a long time follower of yours on Instagram and on Twitter/X. I'm such a fan of what you all do!

@mikeavelli did you convince this man to join LE? If so, HOW? 😭😭
@mikeavelli is extremely at hyping up all kinds of enthusiast content and I've been lurking around every now and then and figured that it might be a good idea to sign up so that I can answer questions when they pop up.
 

BoziT

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How excited are you for the LFA/LFR GT3 race car?
I do not know of any names for future Lexus products but as far as potential GT3 cars are concerned, I was very excited to see the Toyota GR GT3 Concept at the Tokyo Auto Salon last year. Hopefully that turns into something fun.

My current focus is entirely on the Lexus RC F GT3 and chasing championships to show what our team and organization are capable of with this car.
 

BoziT

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It's probably a good idea to do a quick intro for those that might have questions and aren't familiar with me.

My name is Bozi Tatarevic and I am race mechanic and tire carrier on the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 for Vasser Sullivan Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. If you watch the races on TV you'll most often see me running around the car with a tire to meet my tire changers Nate and Travis. You can see a POV of what I do in a pit stop on my Instagram here:


In addition to my mechanic work, I also do some writing and video work and you can find me in magazines like Road & Track or doing shows like Win The Weekend.

If you've been to the track then you might have run into me doing one of my tech talks where I share some of the technical details of the Lexus RC F GT3 with Lexus guests. I am always happy to answer any questions about the car or about endurance racing in general so feel free to ask. If you're interested in what a typical race weekend looks like for me, you can check out my recent vlog from Road America here:


Our next race is scheduled for Indianapolis Motors Speedway this weekend and will be live on Sunday, September 17 at 1:00 PM ET on NBC or on imsa.tv for those that are outside of the US.

BoziTechTalk.jpg
 

ssun30

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I'm interested in whether current BoPs are really beneficial to the RC-F GT3 and in which way. Does the larger restrictor plate (compared to competition) help with power? What do you think is the main point of improvement for the next-gen car?

Welcome Bozi! It's always nice to see real experts providing valuable in-depth information on what is otherwise a pretty secretive sport.
 

BoziT

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I'm interested in whether current BoPs are really beneficial to the RC-F GT3 and in which way. Does the larger restrictor plate (compared to competition) help with power? What do you think is the main point of improvement for the next-gen car?

Welcome Bozi! It's always nice to see real experts providing valuable in-depth information on what is otherwise a pretty secretive sport.
There really is not some regulation or one specific item that has resulted in our success but instead the real answer is that it's a bunch of small pieces that have been put together since 2020 that have resulted in team growth and a better understanding of the car.

I started with the team in late 2020 as it transitioned from Canada to North Carolina and I was one of the first few hires for our new team manager Greg Cates who had joined to head the transition for the team and build out the crew. Greg found the most successful crewmembers that worked for the previous organization and brought them over to the new team. He then built on that by hiring elite mechanics from teams like CORE which ran the previous Porsche factory operation along with finding crew in NASCAR, IndyCar, and even Stadium Super Trucks.

My car chief and rear tire changer Travis was one that had previously worked on the Porsche 911 and was also their pit coach and one of the immediate effects of him joining the team for me personally was realizing how much room I had to improve in my pit stop time. Training with him allowed me to cut my time around the car by a decent chunk and our tire changes went from being around the 20 second mark when I joined in 2020 to being in the 15 second range starting last season. Our fastest tire change this year has been in the 13s.

The pit stop are just a simple example but improvements were made in processes in order to reduce mistakes wherever possible and build consistency which is partly helped by the fact that most of the crew has now been together since they were hired in 2020 or 2021.

This also goes to the engineering side as our engineer Geoff Fickling was joined by Chris Andrews and with the support of Lexus Racing they have done extensive testing and simulation to find setups and combinations for us to test out. Having these options from the sim and other tools from TRD allows us to be more efficient on test and find a variety of tweaks to make the car incrementally better. Over tire those fractional tweaks build out to better performance.

On top of that, bring Ben Barnicoat onboard to join Jack Hawksworth has been huge as they get along incredibly well and push each other to perform much like we push each other on the pit crew. They both have exemplary race craft and are able to offer feedback that can help improve the setup of the car and optimize it to get even more of those small fractional gains.

All of this is brought together by the fact that we've all grown incredibly close and choose to spend time together outside of our work with the team because we're also all friends which is huge for chemistry and even trust. Fortunately, all of us on the crew and the drivers have pretty similar tastes in food as we also make it a habit to eat together whenever possible and have a pre-race ritual of hitting up either the local sushi or Mexican spot.

Building performance over time is only one part of it because there are certain tracks that we know we won't be the best so we've also taken an approach of consistency and if we know that we're a third place car at a certain track then we'll target trying to get to second but not take huge risks and instead collect points as much as possible with a look at the bigger picture of chasing championships.

Hope that is helpful. Here is a picture from last weekend where a few of us went out to the Super Motocross race in Concord.
IMG_2415.jpg
 
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@mikeavelli is extremely at hyping up all kinds of enthusiast content and I've been lurking around every now and then and figured that it might be a good idea to sign up so that I can answer questions when they pop up.
That's sick. Welcome!

There really is not some regulation or one specific item that has resulted in our success but instead the real answer is that it's a bunch of small pieces that have been put together since 2020 that have resulted in team growth and a better understanding of the car.

I started with the team in late 2020 as it transitioned from Canada to North Carolina and I was one of the first few hires for our new team manager Greg Cates who had joined to head the transition for the team and build out the crew. Greg found the most successful crewmembers that worked for the previous organization and brought them over to the new team. He then built on that by hiring elite mechanics from teams like CORE which ran the previous Porsche factory operation along with finding crew in NASCAR, IndyCar, and even Stadium Super Trucks.

My car chief and rear tire changer Travis was one that had previously worked on the Porsche 911 and was also their pit coach and one of the immediate effects of him joining the team for me personally was realizing how much room I had to improve in my pit stop time. Training with him allowed me to cut my time around the car by a decent chunk and our tire changes went from being around the 20 second mark when I joined in 2020 to being in the 15 second range starting last season. Our fastest tire change this year has been in the 13s.

The pit stop are just a simple example but improvements were made in processes in order to reduce mistakes wherever possible and build consistency which is partly helped by the fact that most of the crew has now been together since they were hired in 2020 or 2021.

This also goes to the engineering side as our engineer Geoff Fickling was joined by Chris Andrews and with the support of Lexus Racing they have done extensive testing and simulation to find setups and combinations for us to test out. Having these options from the sim and other tools from TRD allows us to be more efficient on test and find a variety of tweaks to make the car incrementally better. Over tire those fractional tweaks build out to better performance.

On top of that, bring Ben Barnicoat onboard to join Jack Hawksworth has been huge as they get along incredibly well and push each other to perform much like we push each other on the pit crew. They both have exemplary race craft and are able to offer feedback that can help improve the setup of the car and optimize it to get even more of those small fractional gains.

All of this is brought together by the fact that we've all grown incredibly close and choose to spend time together outside of our work with the team because we're also all friends which is huge for chemistry and even trust. Fortunately, all of us on the crew and the drivers have pretty similar tastes in food as we also make it a habit to eat together whenever possible and have a pre-race ritual of hitting up either the local sushi or Mexican spot.

Building performance over time is only one part of it because there are certain tracks that we know we won't be the best so we've also taken an approach of consistency and if we know that we're a third place car at a certain track then we'll target trying to get to second but not take huge risks and instead collect points as much as possible with a look at the bigger picture of chasing championships.

Hope that is helpful. Here is a picture from last weekend where a few of us went out to the Super Motocross race in Concord.
View attachment 7944

Lovely introduction! It's so great to hear how close the entire team is with one another. I've also been a huge fan of Jack and Ben and I'm so thrilled that we have some incredible drivers in our team.

As someone who is an avid follower of the World Endurance Championship and Toyota Gazoo Racing, I'm curious how was Mike Conway when he raced for you guys in Daytona? Since he is known for racing prototypes more I'm interested to hear how he gelled with the RC F GT3.

Good luck in Indy and Road Atlanta!
 

mikeavelli

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Bozi is a great guy. We have kicked it on and off track and his genuine and knowledge demeanor resonates with people. He has provided a ton of BTS videos and access. It’s been a pleasure to see his personal brand grow over to NASCAR and other races….

That said Lexus Racing/Vasser Sullivan are amazing people. I’m fortunate to have been at the first race as a fan to working as a partner with people like Bozi.

He’s a foodie too lol
 

mikeavelli

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That's sick. Welcome!



Lovely introduction! It's so great to hear how close the entire team is with one another. I've also been a huge fan of Jack and Ben and I'm so thrilled that we have some incredible drivers in our team.

As someone who is an avid follower of the World Endurance Championship and Toyota Gazoo Racing, I'm curious how was Mike Conway when he raced for you guys in Daytona? Since he is known for racing prototypes more I'm interested to hear how he gelled with the RC F GT3.

Good luck in Indy and Road Atlanta!

If you are ever in the states would love to take care of you at a race!
 

BoziT

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That's sick. Welcome!



Lovely introduction! It's so great to hear how close the entire team is with one another. I've also been a huge fan of Jack and Ben and I'm so thrilled that we have some incredible drivers in our team.

As someone who is an avid follower of the World Endurance Championship and Toyota Gazoo Racing, I'm curious how was Mike Conway when he raced for you guys in Daytona? Since he is known for racing prototypes more I'm interested to hear how he gelled with the RC F GT3.

Good luck in Indy and Road Atlanta!
The downforce difference between prototypes and GT cars definitely can take some getting used to as well as going from a car without ABS to ABS in the GT3 but Conway got acclimated to the RC F GT3 fairly quickly with only a short amount of testing and was within a few tenths of our regulars by the time we got to the race. Kamui had a bit less time to practice with only a single sim day before hopping into our car as a substitute in 2022 but similarly started getting up to speed quickly. Both Mike and Kamui are extremely down to earth and easy to get along with so I would welcome working with either of them if it ever comes up again. Mike is a shoe guy so I am occasionally in touch with him to chat about the latest Jordans or Air Forces. Both Mike and Kamui came to visit us at Sebring and are great friends of the team. We're also on friendly terms with the Toyota Gazoo Racing crew and try to say hello to each other when we have crossover weekends like Sebring.
LN9_2154 Large.png
 

BoziT

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Bozi is a great guy. We have kicked it on and off track and his genuine and knowledge demeanor resonates with people. He has provided a ton of BTS videos and access. It’s been a pleasure to see his personal brand grow over to NASCAR and other races….

That said Lexus Racing/Vasser Sullivan are amazing people. I’m fortunate to have been at the first race as a fan to working as a partner with people like Bozi.

He’s a foodie too lol
First thing when we get into the van after landing for a race is usually a Yelp search for some food and I often take inspiration from the spots that you've found in the past.
 
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If you are ever in the states would love to take care of you at a race!
I will let you guys know. ❤️
The downforce difference between prototypes and GT cars definitely can take some getting used to as well as going from a car without ABS to ABS in the GT3 but Conway got acclimated to the RC F GT3 fairly quickly with only a short amount of testing and was within a few tenths of our regulars by the time we got to the race. Kamui had a bit less time to practice with only a single sim day before hopping into our car as a substitute in 2022 but similarly started getting up to speed quickly. Both Mike and Kamui are extremely down to earth and easy to get along with so I would welcome working with either of them if it ever comes up again. Mike is a shoe guy so I am occasionally in touch with him to chat about the latest Jordans or Air Forces. Both Mike and Kamui came to visit us at Sebring and are great friends of the team. We're also on friendly terms with the Toyota Gazoo Racing crew and try to say hello to each other when we have crossover weekends like Sebring.
View attachment 7946
Oh that's just great to hear! Here's hoping that when Lexus joins the WEC next season you guys will be able to go to some tracks around the world and not just North America. :)