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No. 12 Lexus’ Points Position Led to Long Beach Shakeup

Frankie Montecalvo, Jack Hawksworth reflect on one-off driver shuffle for Long Beach…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Frankie Montecalvo and Parker Thompson’s current position in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD points standings played a role in Vasser Sullivan’s decision to shake up its lineup and add a second Lexus RC F GT3 to the class for this weekend’s round at Long Beach.

The Silver-rated drivers of Montecalvo and Parker Thompson currently sit 12th in the GTD standings after an unlucky start to their first campaign as season-long co-drivers.

With the GTD Pro class not in action at Long Beach, it was announced last week that Jack Hawksworth would partner Montecalvo in the No. 12 Lexus, and Thompson moving over to the newly-numbered No. 89 entry with Ben Barnicoat for Saturday’s 100-minute race.

When asked about the implications of splitting up the No. 12 car’s full season co-drivers for a race, Montecalvo admitted that its current championship position had some influence on the decision.

“We talked around that, as teammates, as a team and looked at every different way,” he said. “We were obviously going for a championship as teammates this year. It was definitely our points to see how we came out of Sebring.

“If we were probably a little higher in the points, I think we would have probably considered not splitting us up. But after being 12th and stuff like that, we thought, ‘Why not? Let’s give it double our chances of going for a class win that way.’

“It was definitely high on the list to consider that.”

Montecalvo, who is the team’s longest-standing driver alongside Hawksworth, who missed several races in 2022 due to a motocross injury, said he’s looking forward to teaming up with the British driver for the first time.

“I’ve been racing with Jack for six years now. We’ve always been teammates but never had the option to share a car,” Montecalvo said.

“He’s been in the Lexus longer than anyone and has the most experience. He has a great track record at Long Beach and in a lot of the races, coming off a race win in Sebring.

“You can’t ask for someone better to share a car with.

“It’s really awesome we have this opportunity and have the team to be able to put this package together and roll in there.”

Montecalvo said he doesn’t expect any challenges in Hawksworth integrating into the No. 12 Lexus lineup for the race, with the Jimmy Vasser and James ‘Sulli’ Sullivan-owned team often working a single operation despite fielding cars in two different classes.

“The entire Vasser Sullivan lineup, I feel like fit together really well,” he said. “It’s almost like a family and a brotherhood.

“We joke around a lot and we really push each other, on and off the track to be better, faster and more competitive.

“I’m really excited to be running with Jack. I feel like he’s one of the best in the business and looking forward to battling for the win.”

Hawksworth, meanwhile, will be competing against his regular co-driver Barnicoat, in Lexus machinery for the first time, with it also being a new experience for he and his longtime race engineer, who will also be split up this weekend.

“Obviously being good friends with Ben and we’ve driven together a lot, so being in different cars is going to be weird,” he said.

“For me it’s going to be also weird. I’ve been with the 14 guys for a long time as well, not just with Ben but with the engineer Geoff Fickling.

“He was my engineer back in 2012 in Star Mazda, so I don’t think we’ve ever done a race where he’s on one car and I’ve been in the other car. That’s going to be kind of wild as well.

“It’s also going to be cool to work with the 12 car guys because I’ve known them for a long time, got on with them really well. To join them and help them out for the weekend will be super.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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