After hitting good numbers during the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last May, the racing season looked very promising as drivers Dominik Baumann, Kyle Marcelli, David Heinemeier Hansson, and Jack Hawksworth entered the Detroit Grand Prix.
The team behind the Lexus RC F GT3 were positive about their positioning, and started off strong at their home track of Belle Isle Park Raceway. Early interviews stated they were under a lot of pressure to perform and match their numbers in Mid-Ohio, but Kyle Marcelli was confident, after having driven the same circuit and earning strong marks last year. “We just need to execute, not make mistakes and drive clean races and we should be able to get good results at Detroit,” said Marcelli.
Undeniably, the Lexus remains unbeatable in terms of power and the strategy of having the fastest guys taking on the first leg of the race paid off, but many unforeseen events led to the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 clocking in a sixth-place result (18th overall) in the GTD class and the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 finishing 12th in class (25th overall). “I did the first 35 minutes of the race. I gained one position at the start, which was good, but then I lost it on the second lap. He (Justin Marks) was just more aggressive and he was more in the limit. I could see when I was behind, him just sliding around,” said Baumann. “We struggled to find the right setup and to find the right balance for this circuit, but I’m happy with sixth place. We got a little short on fuel at the end so one lap longer and it would've been stressful but I’m happy.”
Marcelli stood by their strategy, saying “If you’re upfront, it’s your race to win because it’s difficult to overtake and that proved to be correct. Baumann did a good job. Our strategy was good, but our pit stop was slow. I think we were an extra five seconds in the pit lane and we lost two spots because of that. We were able to catch them, but it was just a procession following the leader. A good points day, sixth place, and we can’t complain. We’ll just move on to the next one, learn from this one and try to go for the front again,” he continued.
During the 100-minute event, drivers Hansson and Hawksworth of the No. 15 Lexus had what they called a “monster fight”, their results still dipped down and placed them in the 25th overall. “I just made a mistake coming into (turn) 5. Hit a bump that was slightly off line when I was trying to keep Cooper MacNeil behind me and the car jumped and I hit the wall,” said Hansson.
Hawksworth doesn’t discount the fact they could have won. “We dominated the weekend in terms of pace. We could have won the race, but it is what it is. It’s just one of those things—I think Hansson was under a bit of pressure from MacNeil. It was a difficult situation but things happen and it’s racing,” he said.
While their recent marks were not ideal, racing enthusiasts should still keep an eye on the Lexus RC F GT3 team. Lexus Motorsports Manager Mark Egger doesn’t mince words and expressed the team is now moving ahead to the upcoming Watkins Glen 6-hour endurance race.
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