Hawksworth Impresses in NASCAR Debut

Jack Hawksworth said he enjoyed his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut which started with a front-row qualifying spot, included a stage win and regular spot in the top 10 but ended with a mid-pack, 15th-place finish.

“First off, thank you to Joe Gibbs Racing for having me and to Toyota for putting it together; and of course to my team AVS Racing, IMSA and Lexus for allowing me to go do this Xfinity stint,” he told NBCSN. “I was having a lot of fun out there. Some good battles over the beginning.

“The first stint, I was struggling with the rear tires a little bit. The second stint we made it a little bit better.”
Hawksworth had speed all weekend. He clocked in 13th in opening practice after his first laps in a Xfinity car, then was fastest of all in the final practice and qualified second.

The IMSA GTD front-runner and former IndyCar regular was tabbed late last week to drive the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at Mid-Ohio, and he had a top-10 run going for much of the Saturday afternoon race. Challenging inside the top five through the first two stages, Hawksworth recovered from an early spin on the frontstretch after contact with Cole Custer.
He even took the lead on Lap 37. Getting to the inside of teammate Christopher Bell, Hawksworth made the move just before the caution came out, which resulted in his winning Stage 2.

However, the grille of his iK9 Supra was filled with grass after several off-course excursions during the day, and, with nine laps to go, Hawksworth — running ninth — had to pit.

“I was comfortable on those restarts going for the lead and felt pretty good about it; but then I think we had a little issue on that second stop so that kind of put us back there,” he said. “Got grass on the grille on one of those restarts, then kind of lost the brakes and that was kind of all she wrote.

“Little bit of a shame, but I had a great time and the iK9 car was great. I just want to thank everyone for having me here, and we’ll have to come back at some point and give it another shot.”

HAWKSWORTH HITS MARKS IN FINAL MINUTES TO GIVE AIM VASSER SULLIVAN FIRST IMSA WITH LEXUS

HAWKSWORTH HITS MARKS IN FINAL MINUTES TO GIVE AIM VASSER SULLIVAN FIRST IMSA WITH LEXUS

Jack Hawksworth proved to be calm under intense pressure on Sunday afternoon at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to send AIM VASSER SULLIVAN to victory lane for the first time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Driving the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 in the GT Daytona (GTD) class, Hawksworth kept a hard-charging Mario Farnbacher in his rearview mirror after stealing the lead from him on a restart with 30 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute Acura Sports Car Challenge.

Farnbacher didn’t relent, though, keeping Hawksworth within striking distance of his No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 machine. On the final lap, Farnbacher was able to pull along the driver side of the Lexus, yet couldn’t complete the pass on the outside line.

The victory is Lexus’ third in IMSA GTD competition, with the first coincidentally coming one year ago at Mid-Ohio. The No. 14 was expected to be a fierce competitor on Sunday, with Hawksworth’s co-driver Richard Heistand placing the car on the pole during qualifying on Saturday.

My first race in the WeatherTech Championship I won (2014 Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Prototype Challenge class), and then I went on the biggest dry spell of all-time, so it’s nice to be back in a win,” said Hawksworth. I was a part of the team last year when they won here and I’ve had some great times in the Lexus RC F over the last three years. It’s a pleasure to work alongside Lexus and drive with these great teams. I’ve had a lot of poles and fastest laps and I’ve had a lot of fastest cars, but it just never happened. But this race, it just all came together.”

 

Hawksworth described his battle with Farnbacher as a cat-and-mouse game, seeing the Lexus and Acura having strengths at different sectors of the track. Heistand was quick to give credit to his co-driver following the race for holding off the Acura.

Jack did an unbelievable job,” said Heistand, who earned his first IMSA victory. That pass on the restart, it was just incredible. His pace at the end, people don’t realize this Lexus at the end of the stint is hard compared to the other cars with the tires. What he does at the end of the stint is remarkable. Just look at the pace of the other cars at the end of the race there. What he did was incredible. I’m thrilled.”

It was a bittersweet runner-up finish for Farnbacher and co-driver Trent Hindman, who led a class-high 85 laps after starting from the ninth position. Hindman and Farnbacher, however, now hold a seven-point lead over the other AIM VASSER SULLIVAN entry, the No. 12 of Townsend Bell and Frank Montecalvo.

The No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Scott Hargrove and Zach Robichon was poised for its first podium finish of the season until bad luck struck the team again. With under seven minutes remaining, and running third at the time, Hargrove’s Porsche slid off the track into the gravel and was unable to continue. The team ultimately finished 12th. Capitalizing on the Porsche’s bad luck was the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Bryan Sellers and Ryan Hardwick. It is the team’s first top-10 finish of the season. A television re-air of the Acura Sports Car Challenge will be shown on NBCSN on Wednesday, May 8 at 3 p.m. ET.

The next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship takes place at the Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle Park. The 100-minute Chevrolet Sports Car Classic is set for Saturday, June 1 at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN with live coverage also available via IMSA Radio on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio. Tickets are available now on DetroitGP.com.

JACK HAWKSWORTH JOINS AIM VASSER SULLIVAN

JACK HAWKSWORTH JOINS AIM VASSER SULLIVAN

Plano, Texas (October 29, 2018) – AIM VASSER SULLIVAN (AVS), the newly formed motorsports entity that includes AIM Autosport, a championship-winning organization and IndyCar winning team owners Jimmy Vasser and James “Sulli” Sullivan is thrilled to announce Jack Hawksworth as the team’s first driver. Hawksworth will be racing full-time in 2019 in one of the two Lexus RC F GT3 race cars that AVS will campaign in the GT Daytona (GTD) class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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HAWKSWORTH: HIGHS & LOWS OF DETROIT

HAWKSWORTH: HIGHS & LOWS OF DETROIT

The 3GT Racing team came into Detroit riding on a wave of momentum after a historic first victory at Mid-Ohio a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately, that victory didn’t come from our side of the garage, but nonetheless it was a great confidence boost for the whole team. The only negative of our strong performance at Mid-Ohio was heading into the Detroit weekend we had been handed a substantial weight penalty, courtesy of IMSA’s Balance of Performance. We knew this would make life a little more difficult for us but nonetheless we knew that certain characteristics of the Detroit circuit would suit our Lexus RC F GT3. We hoped we could challenge for the victory.

Friday practice went very well. The engineering team and mechanics had done a fantastic job with the car and David Heinemeier Hansson and I both felt very comfortable straight out of the box. We spent both practice sessions working through various fuel loads and tires, both fresh and old, to try and get a better understanding of the car in different situations and to help prepare David in the best possible way for the qualifying session. An added bonus was that we set the fastest time of anyone in practice and we were consistently able to run a very strong pace.

Qualifying followed and David did a fantastic job to qualify the car P5, in front of all the other real amateur drivers in the field!

Race day came and the talk around the paddock was whether to take four, two or zero tires when pitting. It was a one-stop race and with the minimum drive time for silver drivers set at the 30-minute mark, it was clear that the pit stop would be a short fuel. This therefore meant that the time spent on pit lane would probably be decided by the driver and tire change. In a one-stop race, and with little passing, this pit exchange would be a golden opportunity to get it right or screw it up! Unfortunately, in the race it wasn’t a problem we had to deal with.

After making a solid start, David got caught out by a snap of oversteer in Turn 5 and hit the wall. That was our day done. These things happen on street circuits, but it was a shame as we were probably the only GTD car with the pace to go forward and make some passes. Ah well, would of, should of, could of, this is racing, and we’ll move on. The results are only part of it and as always, I look forward to the next race, this time at Watkins Glen.

It presents another opportunity to do things better, continue to refine my craft and understand how to extract more lap time and speed from the Lexus RC F GT3. This is what gets me out of bed every morning and keeps me motivated. I look forward to pushing forward with the rest of 3GT team from here on out, hopefully the results follow!

BRITISH STAR HAWKSWORTH CONTINUES WITH LEXUS FOR 2018 IMSA CAMPAIGN

BRITISH STAR HAWKSWORTH CONTINUES WITH LEXUS FOR 2018 IMSA CAMPAIGN

3GT Racing is finalizing its return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with up to two full-season Lexus RC F GT3 entries, according to team principal Paul Gentilozzi. The Michigan-based team is at this week’s IMSA-sanctioned test at Daytona with a single Lexus for Jack Hawksworth, who will return alongside a to-be-announced Silver-rated driver.

Jack is committed,” Gentilozzi told Sportscar365. “We took Jack’s option and he’s an integral part of the team. We have to get the second car done commercially before I can hire second drivers. We’re talking to a lot of people globally, including Sage [Karam], but I’ve got to be sure I have a deal first. We’re running out of time.”

Hawksworth, Karam, Scott Pruett and Robert Alon made up the team’s full-season lineup this year, with the Silver-rated Pruett among the leading options for the second car, should sufficient sponsorship be found. 3GT, along with Acura outfit Michael Shank Racing, are both transitioning into full customer efforts following a single year of increased manufacturer support permitted by IMSA.

Scott’s still deciding what he’s going to do and hopefully we’ll have some idea in the next two weeks,” Gentilozzi said. We’re hunting [for] sponsors that would be interested in having Scott as their full-time Silver, just as we’re hunting Silvers with money for the second car.”

Alon, meanwhile, is unlikely to return to the team, as the former Prototype Challenge competitor is eyeing a move to the Prototype class and tested with JDC-Miller Motorsports this week. Gentilozzi said he’s confident of having two cars for Daytona and could potentially “piecemeal” the second entry for the remainder of the year, with lots of interest for partial-season programs.

Better and Smarter’ Team After Mixed First Season in GTD. Gentilozzi said he feels the team is “better” and “smarter” following a challenging debut in GTD, which was marred by a number of incidents. While not reaching the podium, the pair of Lexus entries showed improved pace in the second half of the season, highlighted by Karam’s class pole at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

We learned so much about the cars: how to work on them, how to be efficient working on them. They’re reliable,” Gentilozzi said.

The mistakes we made in 2017 strategically we are pretty confident we’ve learned from. We’re committed not to let drivers crash the car because it takes away from your ability to focus and compete. I think we get it. We didn’t race in ’15 as a team and we had to play our way into shape. I think we’re better now, smarter now. I feel good about our engineering. I feel good about the car itself, and I’m hoping we get an equitable BoP and can earn our way to the podium.”