CM – Lexus tabs Hawksworth, Barnicoat, Kirkwood for GTD Pro

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Lexus Racing and its partner team Vasser Sullivan have nominated Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat and Kyle Kirkwood to drive the number 14 Lexus RC F GT3 for its debut in IMSA’s new GTD Pro category.

In Hawksworth and Kirkwood, Lexus and Vasser Sullivan have two team veterans who are advancing from the Pro-Am GTD class of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to the GTD Pro class, which replaces the GTLM category at the factory level, which was discontinued in November.

The newcomer is Englishman Barnicoat, who left a long commitment as a McLaren GT works driver behind him to take on the full-time position alongside his compatriot Hawksworth and Florida’s Kirkwood, who is back for the endurance races.

“Together with Vasser Sullivan and TRD, we are continuously looking for ways to compete in North American sports car racing and to take Lexus’ performance message to a new level, « said Lexus VP and GM Andrew Gilleland. “The IMSA race has helped build awareness and awareness of the Lexus performance models among our dealers, owners and competitors alike. Our momentum is growing fast and everyone at Lexus is looking forward to competing for an IMSA championship.

“Jack Hawksworth has been instrumental in the development and success of the RC F GT3 program from day one and we are delighted We are very pleased that a driver of Ben’s Barnicoat caliber is joining the Lexus family. Paired with Kyle Kirkwood for the endurance laps, our GTD Pro entry fits perfectly with the Vasser Sullivan and Lexus Racing program. You’re young, fast, and ready to fight for the top step of the podium all season. We know that we have something special here and look forward to winning our first GT championship together with Rolex from next month. ”

For Jimmy Vasser and James“ Sulli ”Sullivan, the new GTD Pro appearance is the Most ambitious yet as the North Carolina team enters its fourth season with the luxury and performance brand from Toyota.

“We’re taking Vasser Sullivan Lexus to the next level and building this line of highly competitive drivers is the next step to get the results we expect, ”they said. “Jack and Kyle did an amazing job for us, taking pole, consistently on the podium and winning races. Ben’s skills and competitiveness in the sports car world have proven he is with us. We’re excited to announce him today and bring him to Vasser Sullivan Lexus. « 

 » I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining Lexus Racing USA, « he said. “Hearing the future plans and ambitions of the Lexus brand to really write yourself in the history books of motorsport is really inspiring and really excites me about this program and my future at Lexus. I can’t wait to work with the Vasser Sullivan team and my super fast teammates Jack Hawksworth and Kyle Kirkwood on our IMSA GTD Pro campaign with the Lexus RC F GT3.

« After meeting Jimmy and Sulli for the first time and saw the team in action at Petit Le Mans last month, I know they are the team you should be with at IMSA. The level of professionalism, along with the dedication and hunger to win races and championships, was incredible and I couldn’t ask for more as a driver. I still have a lot to learn as it’s my first full season at IMSA but I have an amazing car in the Lexus RC F GT3 and the best team of people around me to learn from and achieve our goals. We will be a force to be reckoned with. The green flag at the Rolex 24 in January cannot come soon enough! ”

The 2021 season marks the 35th year Marshall Pruett has been in the sport. In his current role for RACER, Pruett is a writer, reporter, photographer and filmmaker involved in open-wheel and sports car races. In his previous career he worked as a mechanic, engineer and team manager in various series, including IndyCar, IMSA and World Challenge.

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