NO. 14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN LEXUS RC F GT3 FINISHES NINTH IN ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA
January 27, 2020
NO. 14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN LEXUS RC F GT3 FINISHES NINTH IN ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA
Race Summary No. 14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3:
The No. 14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3 driven by Jack Hawksworth, Parker Chase, Kyle Busch and Michael De Quesada, finished ninth in the 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Starting 16th after the team opted to change the engine and did not participate in qualifying, they dropped a lap down early in the contest. However, the team battled back, got the lap back and methodically worked their way into the top-10 getting as high as sixth place. However, an issue with the brakes required some repairs dropping them back a few positions dashing any hopes of a top-five finish.
The ninth place finish is the third top-10 showing in four starts for the two-year old AIM VASSER SULLIVAN team (two cars per year). In 2019, their inaugural Rolex 24 at Daytona, AVS finished second and fifth.
The No. 14 AVS entry returned just Jack Hawksworth to the car that finished fifth in the 2019 Rolex 24.
No. 14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Driver Race Quotes:
"The race was going really well. Both AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus GT3s were running strong, especially at night. The speed was really good at night, but it didn't seem to be quite as good in the daylight from what we could see this morning. At nighttime, the cars really came alive and both the 12 and the 14 GT3s speedwise looked good. The 12 car maintained the lead lap the whole race and then the 14 managed to get back onto the lead lap thanks to some full course cautions. We were feeling good about it and then we had to do a brake change, which usually takes about two minutes, but unfortunately there was an issue with a caliper and it required bleeding the brakes and some other things which ended up taking 10 minutes to get out of pit lane. We ultimately ended up six laps down. It was such a green race so it was difficult to return to the lead lap. Obviously, happy to get to the finish. The Lexus RC F GT3s were really reliable. We had a good performance and a favorable result at the end of the day."
"It was a good race. The Lexus RC F GT3 was reliable and consistent throughout the whole 24 hours. Unfortunately, we went down six laps down during the night due to an incident and that's ultimately what cost us a chance at the race."
"There was a lot going on and a lot to learn and kind of pick up on and figure out. Overall, it was good. We had a lot of fun. I enjoyed it. Just being able to get back in a race car again, kind of my season warm-up if you will, and be able to go out there and run a ton of laps and have a good go of it. Unfortunately, we just got a little behind with the brake change there, we had some issues on the right-front caliper and that got us a little bit further back than we wanted to be. We just didn't have the long run pace."
Michael De Quesada:
"It was definitely a tough race, but we learned a lot. The moment the sun came down, our pace came to us and we were right there. Unfortunately, we had a small issue that put us back. But, we live to fight another day. P9 is not a bad finish. It gives us some good championship points and I'm just hoping it's going to help out enough for the real part of the season with Parker (Chase) and Jack (Hawksworth)."
NO. 12 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN LEXUS RC F GT3 FINISHES 12TH
?Race Summary No. 12 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3:
The No. 12 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3 driven by Townsend Bell, Frankie Montecalvo, Aaron Telitz and Shane van Gisbergen, finished 12th in the 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Montecalvo qualified the car seventh and started the race by picking up three spots almost immediately. The team ran in the top-10, mainly in the top-six, for the first 14 hours of the race. Unfortunately, at just after the 14-hour mark, the car sustained some damage and was forced to the garage for repairs. After a little over an hour of work the car returned to action in 13th place and many laps down. However, the team never gave up and continued to battle, picking up one spot for their efforts.
The No. 12 AVS entry returned three of the four drivers that finished second in the 2019 Rolex 24, Bell, Montecalvo and Telitz.
No. 12 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Driver Race Quotes:
"It was rough. First of all, Frankie (Montecalvo) had an incredible start. The best start that I've ever seen at Daytona. He passed like eight cars in two corners. It was really impressive. He's been so strong all weekend. Just a shame we got caught out at night there on cold tires. We were running comfortably in the top five, looking for a solid result. But, this AIM VASSER SULLIVAN team battles back time and time again. Got our Lexus all back together -- there was a lot of damage – and we fought on. Good to finish this one here and try to take the positives into our next race at Sebring."
"I had a fun start to the race. It was a nice start I would say. Just opened up for me and I was able to run the outside. This Lexus RC F GT3 turns the tires on a lot faster than I think some of the other cars. It's just one of our strengths. Just going on through the entire race, I think the guys gave us a great car and a great package to compete. I think we were really, really strong at night which was awesome. Did a couple night stints, which was great running in the top three. Just consistently were there and we just had some bad luck in the end and we'll take all of this information and this knowledge and roll it into Sebring because that's another strong endurance race."
Shane van Gisbergen:
"It's been a pleasure driving for AIM VASSER SULLIVAN and being a part of it. We had some good pitting speed and some awesome promise there so it was a shame that it didn't quite work out. To be running up in the front for a while and we found a lot of speed in the race. The Lexus turned out pretty good. It was a cool feeling and hopefully we can get another shot and keep trying to get better."
"The 12 car was awesome. The Lexus RC F GT3 was hooked up all day and night, especially in the night. We were really running well. Third or fourth place most of the night. Unfortunately, what happened to us there at night – it was just so cold and really tough on cold tires. Everybody did such an awesome job. The drivers were all quick, the team made great pit stops and even the little minor trouble that we had with the car really wasn't a problem. Close this year, but it's tough. Second year trying it, and now I know how fortunate we were last year to be standing on the podium. It's the toughest race I think I've ever done."
About AIM VASSER SULLIVAN:
AIM VASSER SULLIVAN (AVS) enters its second season 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.
Vasser and Sullivan were allied and partners from 2011-2016 with KVSH Racing in the IndyCar Series, winning the 2013 Indianapolis 500. 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 finished seventh in the 2018 championship standings. In 2019, the team scored two top-five finishes, a season high third at Barber and a fifth at COTA, and nine top-10 showings.
AIM Autosport was formed in 1995 and have been winners in every category of open wheel and sports car racing in which they have competed. AIM has multiple race wins, plus overall team, driver and manufacturer championships in both Grand AM and IMSA competition.