Eight months ago, AIM Vasser Sullivan was just getting started. On Oct. 16, the team announced its partnership with Lexus to field two GT Daytona entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
At that time, the team faced a busy off-season of acquiring a race shop, hiring team personnel and getting the entire program up to speed.
Bear in mind, those involved were motorsports veterans.
AIM Autosport was a championship-winning sports car program, while Jimmy Vasser and James “Sulli” Sullivan field a successful IndyCar program in partnership with Dale Coyne Racing, but it still was a herculean effort to get the operation off the ground prior to January’s season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.
It didn’t take long for the team to rise to the occasion.
In Daytona, full-season drivers Frankie Montecalvo and Townsend Bell co-drove the No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3 to a runner-up class result with Jeff Segal and Aaron Telitz.
Last month, Jack Hawksworth and Richard Heistand delivered the team’s first victory in the No. 14 entry, successfully defending Lexus’ inaugural WeatherTech Championship victory from the previous year at Mid-Ohio.
Hawksworth and Heistand made it two in a row at Detroit on Saturday, while Montecalvo and Bell finished third.
“It was an uphill battle from the get-go,” admitted team co-owner Andrew Bordin. “But I think the management focused on putting a real good team together. We obsessed over quite a few details, but it’s paying off. I’m proud of these guys.”
The win kept the No. 14 team perfect in the WeatherTech Sprint Cup standings, which they lead by 10 over No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche driver Patrick Long.
“All credit to the guys,” Vasser said. “The car’s been flawless, Heistand’s coming around, Hawksworth’s a great championship contender and I’m really proud of Townsend and Frankie in the 12 car to put it on the podium. Two Lexuses on the podium here is just awesome.”
“I think maybe three months ago, it would have been surprising,” added Sullivan. “But I don’t know about three weeks ago.
“What can you say about the Lexus RC F? We’ve got a win on a road course, we got a win on a street course, so we couldn’t be any more pleased. We’re just really pumped to represent Lexus here and bring home two trophies today. It’s a fantastic day for the brand and the team.”