AIM VASSER SULLIVAN QUALIFIES BOTH CARS IN TOP-10 FOR MOTUL PETIT LE MANS
October 12, 2019
HEISTAND QUALIFIES NO. 14
AVS LEXUS RC F GT3 SEVENTH
Qualifying Summary No. 14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3:
Richard Heistand qualified the No. 14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3 seventh for tomorrow's Motul Petit Le Mans on the 2.54-mile, 12-turn Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta permanent road course in Braselton, Georgia. Heistand, who co-drivers with Jack Hawksworth and AVS newcomer Parker Chase, qualified with a fast lap of 1:20.260. With today's seventh place qualifying spot the No. 14 AVS entry ended the 11-race IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class season qualifying in the top-10 in nine of the 11 races this year. The No. 14 AVS machine qualified outside the top-10 in the first two races of the season, Daytona and Sebring, before running off a string of nine consecutive top-10 qualifying efforts including four top-five starting positions and one pole at Mid-Ohio (third at Virginia International Raceway, fourth at Detroit and fifth at Lime Rock).
NO. 14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Driver Qualifying Quote:
Richard Heistand: "We really haven't found one-lap speed out of the car all weekend. We were a bit better in practice three with one-lap pace, but it still wasn't enough, so we went another direction and it turned to be a step backwards. It's a long race and we have been able to run consistent laps, so hopefully we'll be better tomorrow."
MONTECALVO QUALIFIES NO. 12
AVS LEXUS RC F GT3 EIGHTH
Qualifying Summary No. 12 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3:
Frankie Montecalvo qualified the No. 12 AVS Lexus RC F GT3 eighth for tomorrow's race. Montecalvo, who co-drives with Townsend Bell and Aaron Telitz, recorded a fast lap of 1:20.323. The trio has competed together in all four Endurance Cup races this year. The No. 12 AVS entry finished the season with six top-10 starting spots including three in the top-five with a season-high qualifying effort of second at Virginia International Raceway (qualified third at Mid-Ohio, fifth in Detroit).
NO. 12 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Driver Qualifying Quote:
Frankie Montecalvo: "Hats off to the AIM VASSER SULLIVAN crew. We had a lot of changes going on from practice throughout this entire weekend and we rolled out on the grid basically with a green flag for qualifying, so they just got it done in the nick of time. All in all, a good qualifying effort. We weren't up on the charts where we wanted to be, but I think mid-pack is a pretty strong qualifying with such a competitive field. Rolling into a 10-hour endurance race like this, qualifying isn't everything. I think we're going to focus on a great race car to be consistent and be competitive and we're going to fight our way to the front."
Lexus is currently fourth in the overall GTD manufacturer standings with 254 points, just 15 points out of first.
The No. 12 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3 (drivers Townsend Bell and Frankie Montecalvo) is sixth in the overall IMSA GTD championship standings with 216 points. The No. 14 AIM VASSER SUILLIAN Lexus RC F GT3 (drivers Jack Hawksworth and Richard Heistand) is seventh with 215 points.
In the first 10 races (20 starts) of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series, AIM VASSER SULLIVAN has enjoyed quite a bit of success in the team's first season competing in IMSA with two Lexus RC F GT3s. AVS has earned two victories (Mid-Ohio and Detroit), five podiums, nine top-five finishes and 15 top-10 showings.
The No. 14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3 has both of the team's wins, five top-five, seven top-10 finishes in the first 10 races of the season. No. 12 AVS Lexus RC F GT3 has three podium finishes, four top-five showings and eight top-10 placements.
After three of the four IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup events during the 2019 IMSA season, the No. 12 AVS entry is tied for sixth in the Endurance Cup standings. The No. 14 entry is tied for ninth. The final Endurance Cup event will be the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia on October, 12.
The No. 14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3 placed second in the inaugural IMSA GTD Sprint Cup Team Championship, while Hawksworth and Heistand finished third in the driver standings. The No. 12 AVS Lexus RC F GT3 and drivers Bell and Montecalvo placed seventh in the Sprint Cup team and driver standings.
Eighteen-year-old, Chase, joins AVS after having competed in seven previous IMSA events. The 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Rookie of the Year earned the Pirelli World Challenge GT SprintX Pro/Am Championship last year and has also competed in the Red Bull Rallycross Series and IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup previously.
Richard Heistand currently leads the Bob Akin Award standings heading into the final race of 2019, holding a four-point advantage over second place. The Bob Akin Award is given to the highest-placed eligible GTD driver in the season-ending point standings. The 36-year-old Florida native earned his first career IMSA pole position at Mid-Ohio in May and teamed up with Jack Hawksworth to register two victories and five top-five finishes in his first full-season of IMSA competition. Heistand competed in the Porsche Super Cup series in Germany last year after having not raced for nearly 10 years. Prior to his break, he competed in the Champ Car Atlantic Series in 2007 and in the Skip Barber National Championship in 2005 and 2006.
The Motul Petit Le Mans, will be broadcast on October 12 starting on NBC from 12:00 to 3:00 pm (EDT), then NBC Sports App from 3:00 to 5:30 pm (EDT) and concluding on NBCSN from 5:30 to 10:30 pm (EDT).
About AIM VASSER SULLIVAN:
AIM VASSER SULLIVAN (AVS) is a new professional racing team competing in the GTD class of the IMSA WeatherTech Championship with two Lexus RC F GT3 entries. AVS is owned by AIM partners Andrew Bordin, Ian Willis and Keith Willis, and Vasser-Sullivan Racing partners Jimmy Vasser and James ‘Sulli' Sullivan. AVS leadership has a combined 100+ years of experience in operations, engineering, marketing and racecraft.
AIM Autosport formed in 1995 and have been winners in every category of open wheel and sports car racing they have competed in. AIM has multiple race wins, plus overall team, driver and manufacturer Championships in both Grand AM and IMSA competition.
Vasser and Sullivan were allied and partners from 2011-2016 with KVSH Racing in the IndyCar Series. In 2017, Vasser and Sullivan established Vasser-Sullivan Racing to compete in the IndyCar series. In 2018, they formed a partnership with Dale Coyne to establish Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan to compete full time in the IndyCar Series Championship. In its first year, the team earned multiple podiums including winning the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and finishing seventh in the 2018 championship standings.