Williams Harfield Sports Group

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.”