Lexus team sets driver lineup for 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
The driver lineup for both Lexus cars have been announced.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (Jan. 4, 2017) — 3GT Racing has signed drivers Dominik Baumann and Kyle Marcelli for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series. Baumann and Marcelli will team up in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 for the team’s second year racing in the GTD class.
The East Lansing, Michigan-based team will field two Lexus RC F GT3 cars in the 2018 season. The team announced last month that driver David Heinemeier Hansson will pair with returning driver, Jack Hawksworth, in the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3.
Baumann, the 2016 Blancpain GT series champion, was born in Austria. In 2011, he began racing sports cars, driving the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3. In 2012, he won the FIA GT3 European Teams’ Championship and was named FIA Central European Zone Young Talent of the year. He won the 24h Nürburgring Qualifying Race in 2016. For the last four years, he has raced professionally with BMW and AMG. He returned to the 2017 Blancpain GT series Endurance Cup race in Barcelona and earned a sixth-place finish. He has 22 wins in his career.
“I am excited to work with 3GT Racing,” Baumann said. “I like the look of the Lexus RC F GT3 and I think it suits me. And, I think I will suit it. My dream has been to race in America. I’ve watched all the races and I’m ready for a new challenge. I want to do my best when I get in the car. I don’t want to be over-confident. I just want to do well and learn as much as I can.”
3GT Managing Partner Paul Gentilozzi believes Baumann and Marcelli will be a great team in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3.
“As a team owner in the IMSA WeatherTech Series the pairing of drivers is critical to your opportunity for success. Their ability to form a team symmetry and strategy quickly and efficiently is the first step to winning,” Gentilozzi said. “I believe Dominik and Kyle will quickly demonstrate their connection and give us the podiums we are striving for.”
Marcelli of Barrie, Ontario, has come close to racing with the Gentilozzi racing team before.
“I’ve known Paul Gentilozzi for quite a few years and raced against his team,” Marcelli said. “A few years ago, I was going to race with him, but schedules didn’t work out. This year, is the right time. Everything has lined up and to be a part of 3GT Racing, with the Lexus RC F GT3, is special. Everyone takes this year very seriously. They want to show up and win and it’s exciting to be part of that.”
Like most Canadians, Marcelli said he started out on hockey skates, but at the age of 10 he turned his attention to go-karts and soon realized his true passion was motorsports. He made his professional debut in the American Le Mans Series in 2010. He is a former FF1600 champion, Porsche GT3 Cup champion, American Le Mans Series vice-champion, Petit Le Mans winner, and runner-up at the Sebring 12 Hours.
In 2013, Marcelli won the 10H Petit Le Mans, and he has finished second in the race twice before. And in 2016 he won the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX race, driving from sixth to first in the final 35 minutes.
Also joining the 3GT Racing team for the 24 Hours of Daytona, are drivers Philipp Frommenwiler and Bruno Junqueira.
Junqueira has partnered with Gentilozzi teams before, driving in 2011 with the IMSA GTS team, in the American Le Mans series in 2013 to 2015, alongside Jack Hawksworth. The Brazilian race car driver has 26 wins in a career that includes:
- Won the Formula 3000 International in 2000
- Joined CART Championship Car series in 2001 and earned a win in his 14th race
- Took second in the CART FedEx Championship series in 2002 and second for two years in the Champ Car World Series in 2003 and 2004
- Drove in the Indianapolis 500 four times
- Finished 5th twice, for two different teams, in the Indy 500
- Won the pole in the 2002 Indianapolis 500
- Led the Indy championship in 2005 until an accident
- Third in the United Sports Car Championship Prototype Challenge in 2015
Taking his seat in the Lexus RC F GT3 will be easy for Frommenwiler of Kreuzlingen, Switzerland. The European driver teamed with Alberto Costa in Europe’s International GT Open series last year, driving the Lexus RC F GT3. They came away with third place in the Drivers’ Championship and earned third place in the International GT Open overall standings. In 2017, with the Emil Frey Racing team, Frommenwiler finished first overall in the GT Open at SPA and Estoril. He has nine wins in a career that includes:
- Rookie Champion Porsche Carrera Cup in 2011
- Rookie Champion ADAC GT Masters 2013
- Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup 2017, 8th position
- Finishing 4th in 12H Sebring in 2014
- 24h Nürburgring, finishing top 10
- Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in 2014 and 2015
“As we approach 2018 we do it with great anticipation, we have learned what our Lexus RC F GT3 wants on the track and played our way back into racing shape,” Gentilozzi added. “Our Lexus is now ready to achieve the next step onto the podium, a step we expect to achieve.”
3GT Racing will test the No. 14 and No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 cars in the GTD series at The Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, Jan. 5-7. The Roar acts as the unofficial kickoff to the road racing season which officially kicks off Jan. 25-28 with the 24-hour endurance race, Rolex 24 at Daytona.
About 3GT Racing
3GT Racing was formed to race the Lexus RC F GT3. Owned and operated by five-time Trans-Am Series Champion, Paul Gentilozzi and his longtime partners, Tony and John Gentilozzi. The East Lansing, Michigan-based team principals have been involved in motorsports for more than 47 years and have claimed more than 75 victories and 15 manufacturer and driver championships.