DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – official release — Photo courtesy of IMSA —
On the eve of the 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona, officials from the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and Lexus confirmed that the iconic brand has become the latest car manufacturer to join IMSA as an official automotive partner.
The announcement was made as Lexus confirmed plans to re-enter professional North American sports car racing in 2016 with a new team known as F Performance Racing to compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class. F Performance Racing is working closely with Lexus and IMSA to prepare the car for the homologation process and for competition.
F Performance Racing, based in East Lansing, Mich., is owned by Paul Gentilozzi, who has enjoyed success as the highest levels of motorsport in the U.S. Scott Pruett – the winningest driver in North American sports car racing history – and 20-year-old Sage Karam were introduced as the team’s drivers.
The team will field the Lexus RC F GT3 race car in the GTD class in selected WeatherTech Championship events in 2016 ahead of a planned full-time program in the 2017 season. Lexus previously competed in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series from 2004 through 2009, amassing three Rolex Series team championships, three Rolex 24 At Daytona overall victories and 25 overall race victories.
“As North America’s premium brand of motorsport, we are honored to welcome one of the world’s most successful premium automotive brands in Lexus back to professional sports car racing,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton. “We are pleased that Lexus has chosen the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as its racing home in North America.”
“This program has all of the ingredients for success: a championship-caliber team, an outstanding driver lineup and an engaged and enthusiastic manufacturer partner. We are eager to see them take on the challenge of our highly competitive GT Daytona class – and to assist them in establishing Lexus and their F product line as a race-bred high performance brand.”
CREDIT: IMSA Communications