Parker Chase says he’s using this weekend’s Motul Petit Le Mans as an “evaluation” towards a potential full-season effort with AIM Vasser Sullivan next year.
The 18-year-old Texan is making his debut at the wheel of a Lexus RC F GT3, sharing the team’s No. 14 entry with full-season drivers Jack Hawksworth and Richard Heistand in the ten-hour enduro at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Chase started the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season in a Starworks Motorsport-run Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, prior to the team’s withdrawal mid-season due to speed-related issues with the car.
While having gotten his first laps in the Lexus during a private test at the 2.54-mile circuit last month, Chase said he and the team have been working to get up to speed following Michelin’s switch from the S8M to S9M that was made following their test.
“We were on the other compound when we were testing three weeks ago,” Chase told Sportscar365. “Now we’re trying to adapt to this compound. I think we’re getting it dialed in.
“We haven’t had any issues yet. I only got a little drive time in the second practice [on Thursday] because I was in for every red [flag].”
Chase noted a noticeable difference between the mid-engined Audi to the front-engined Lexus, although feels he has come to grips with the car thanks to the support of the Canadian squad.
“It’s bigger, longer and wider. It’s taken some getting used to but I’m liking it,” he said.
“But it’s been awesome. The support has been very good. I think we have a great team.
“All of the crew members are very good. Luckily I’ve known some of them from the past. So it makes it easier moving to a new team, with one race left in the season. I like it. It’s fun.”
With the goal of mounting a full-season GTD effort next year, Chase said he feels this weekend’s run will give him a good idea of what could be in store should a deal be reached with AVS for 2020.
“We’ll see how it goes and where it takes us,” he said. “I want to be back in the WeatherTech Championship next year and are just looking for the best team.
“There’s options to evaluate right now. It’s just what it boils down to.”