The No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 overcame a radio issue and late-race fuel save by Jack Hawksworth to finish fourth in the GT Daytona class in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Hawksworth and co-driver Aaron Telitz returned to form after a challenging outing at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, running as high as second in Saturday’s 100-minute street race until getting passed by both the Pfaff Motorsports and Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Rs in the closing stages.
It came after a challenging opening stint by Telitz, who had radio communication issues.
“I could speak to the team, but they couldn’t hear anything I was saying,” Telitz explained. “That was tough.
“No spotter in my ear either so I was kind of all alone out there. It was kind of nice and peaceful.
“I called my own strategy, came in on an overcut, which we talked about, and then the Vasser Sullivan guys did such an amazing pit stop there. Four tires, fuel, fast driver change and got out in front of both Porsches.
“We jumped those guys on our strategy and we had to conserve fuel at the end.”
After emerging in second, Hawksworth recalled having three cars ‘all over him’ during his closing stint, where he had the extra task of also being forced to conserve fuel.
“I just tried to hold my line and make sure I didn’t make a mistake and positioned my car well,” he said. “They got tangled up for a bit and gave me a chance to get away a little bit.
“At that point, it was just a case of conserving fuel and looking after the tires and looking after the brakes.
“Obviously, the two Porsche’s behind me were very quick and they kept with me the whole stint. I kind of knew their tires were in a bit better condition, they had a bit more fuel to burn and it was going to be very hard at the end to keep them behind me.
“I was able to do it for a while, but unfortunately at the end we had to go into fuel conserve and they came past me.
“To come away with P4 after starting seventh at this track and without a lot of yellows was really good.
“We moved to within 23 points in the manufacturer’s standings for the Sprint Cup Championship and we go to VIR now for the last sprint race and have a really good shot at defending.
“We want to bring that home for Lexus at VIR. Good day really for points. We’ll keep on chipping away. I think that was all we could’ve done today.”