What a performance Sunday by Vasser Sullivan and Lexus.
While Jack Hawksworth held off a fierce challenge to win the Grand Touring Daytona PRO (GTD PRO) class, teammate Aaron Telitz cruised to victory in the GTD class in the Vasser Sullivan sister Lexus RC F GT3 for a rare team double victory in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International.
Telitz, with help from co-drivers Frankie Montecalvo and Parker Thompson, found himself with a comfortable 35-second lead in GTD late in the six-hour race. He idled to victory after a late crash involving Bill Auberlen that caused the race to end under caution.
“Everything was working,” Telitz said. “I think this is the best day Lexus Racing and Vasser Sullivan has ever had. … Pit stops were amazing, strategy was amazing, the car was hooked up. Everything finally fell our way today.”
Telitz moved the car into the lead in the first hour and – with help from Montecalvo and Thompson – didn’t give it up for long after that. With slightly more than two hours remaining, Thompson regained the lead from Jan Heylen and the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (992), and the No. 12 Lexus began to pull away.
The result was Montecalvo’s first victory with Vasser Sullivan since 2020.
“To finally get this win really means a lot – especially in the 12 car – to be back up on the podium and get that top step,” Montecalvo said. “We’ve been so close the past couple of years. It’s really great to finally get it.”
Madison Snow finished second in GTD in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 he co-drove with Bryan Sellers and Corey Lewis. Heylen shared the third-place finish with co-drivers Ryan Hardwick and Zacharie Robichon.
Afterward, team co-owner James “Sulli” Sullivan tried to contain his joy.
“It really is unbelievable,” Sullivan said. “The Lexus was just un-freaking-believable. … The driving signature of this car at this track today was unbeatable. It was absolutely unbeatable.”
Hawksworth rallies for GTD PRO victory to complete sweep
Completing the Vasser Sullivan sweep wasn’t as easy as it appeared.
Jack Hawksworth had to chase down and pass the No. 3 Corvette Racing C8.R GTD driven by Antonio Garcia late in the race, then defend against a strong pursuit from Daniel Serra in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3.
“The car was great,” Hawksworth said. “We just kept pushing. I’ll never give up. That’s what this team is all about. A win for the 12 and a win for the 14. This is the best day in Vasser Sullivan and Lexus Racing history. What a day.”
The team was leading the GTD PRO class when Hawksworth had to serve a penalty for a pit lane speed violation. That dropped the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus behind Garcia’s Corvette.
“I still can’t quite believe it. We don’t really know what happened,” Hawkworth said of the penalty. “For a couple of laps there when we lost that 15-second lead and I was in second, I was devastated.”
Instead of sulk, Hawksworth began chasing. He passed Garcia with 23 minutes remaining, but so did Serra, who then began to pursue Hawksworth for the lead.
With less than 4 minutes left, the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 flipped on the exit of Turn 10. Auberlen emerged from the wreckage, but the resulting yellow flag let Hawksworth and Barnicoat celebrate victory and an increase in their lead in the GTD PRO championship points standings.
“We just keep doing our thing and keep on turning out these great results,” Barnicoat said. “Today showed that more than ever.”
Serra held on for second with co-driver Davide Rigon, while Garcia maintained the podium finish with co-driver Jordan Taylor.
In the end, Barnicoat was shouting praise for Hawksworth.
“Even when he’s in second, there’s no better man for the job than Jack,” Barnicoat said. “I knew it was going to be OK.”
The WeatherTech Championship resumes July 7-9 with the Chevrolet Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. Live coverage of the 2-hour, 40-minute race begins at noon ET on NBC.
For more details about Watkins Glen International, including schedules and ticketing information for the upcoming Go Bowling at The Glen NASCAR race weekend (August 16-20), call 1-866-461-RACE or visit TheGlen.com.
About Watkins Glen International
Located within five hours and 300 miles of 25 percent of the U.S. population, Watkins Glen International is the premier road racing facility in North America, four-times voted “Best NASCAR Track” by readers of USA Today. Keep up with The Glen on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For tickets, camping, and additional information, call 1-866-461-RACE or visit www.TheGlen.com and get all of the latest information by downloading the NASCAR tracks app at www.theglen.com/nascar-tracks-app.
2023 Watkins Glen International Schedule
June 2-4 – SCCA Majors Super Tour
June 8-11 – Historic Sportscar Racing
June 15 – Chemung Canal Trust Summer Concert Series
June 22-25 – IMSA Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen
July 6-9 – Cayuga Health Finger Lakes Wine Festival
July 11 – Chemung Canal Trust Summer Concert Series
August 4 – Chemung Canal Trust Summer Concert Series
August 9 – Chemung Canal Trust Summer Concert Series
August 16-20 – NASCAR Go Bowling at The Glen
September 7-10 – Hilliard U.S. Vintage Grand Prix
2023 Watkins Glen International NASCAR Weekend Schedule
August 18 – General Tire 100 at The Glen – ARCA Menards Series Race
August 19 – Shriners Children’s 200 at The Glen – NASCAR Xfinity Series Race
August 20 – Go Bowling at The Glen – NASCAR Cup Series Race