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Hawksworth: “Mega Team” ASP Still Learning Lexus RC F GT3

Jack Hawksworth believes Akkodis ASP Team will be “really good” with Lexus RC F GT3 once it gets to grips with car…

Photo: Julien Delfosse/DPPI

Jack Hawksworth believes Akkodis ASP Team will be ‘really good in the future’ with the Lexus RC F GT3, but acknowledges that the French squad is still in the growing phase halfway through its first season since switching from Mercedes-AMG.

The British driver joined the Jerome Policand-led stable at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a stand-in for Jose Maria Lopez, who was in turn called up to replace the injured Mike Conway at Toyota Gazoo Racing.

Hawksworth has extensive experience at the wheel of the RC F GT3, having raced it for every season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship since the car’s debut in 2017.

Through his time racing the car in the U.S., Hawksworth was able to draw comparisons between Akkodis ASP and the Vasser Sullivan outfit that secured last year’s GTD Pro title in the WeatherTech Championship.

“It’s a bit different in America because in America, it’s the same team that’s been running it for a long time and that team has a ton of experience with the car,” Hawksworth said.

“So like you’re dialed in and we have like a cheat sheet, basically. You get to the track, you know exactly where you’re going to plug in.

“Not only is the aero package different but [ASP] have the torque sensors this year which are tricky and it’s their first year with the car.

“It’s never straightforward in a 24-hour race but like in America right now, [Vasser Sullivan] has so much experience.

“This is different, this is a great team but they’re gathering information and still growing. 

“They’re a mega team and you can see how in the future it’s going to be really good, but this is the first 24-hour race for this team with this car and there’s a lot of differences to the U.S. so it’s not as simple.”

Hawksworth pointed to the contrast between the Michelin compound used in the WeatherTech Championship and WEC’s Goodyear tire as a key difference between the two cars, noting that it “changes everything” in the way the car behaves and is set up.

“Honestly, the tire is a big thing” Hawksworth said.

“The Michelin tire is so different to the Goodyear tire. You could have exactly the same car, put one or the other tire on and it’s like a completely different feeling.

“As soon as you put a different tire on, it changes everything.

“In terms of the homologation, the only real difference is obviously the aero kit’s slightly different to get it in the WEC window.

“Other than that, the big difference is the tire, the Goodyear compared to the Michelin, and the setup philopsophy for that particular tire.

“It’s more small details which are different, rather than like some overarching changes. The aero kit’s a bit different but it’s the difference between the setup philosophy and tire.”

As previously outlined by Sportscar365, Lexus and Akkodis ASP carried out significant aerodynamic modifications to the RC F GT3 for the car to fit inside the WEC’s aerodynamic performance window.

Although Hawksworth noted that the WEC-spec RC F GT3 was “pretty decent on the straights,” having been clocked as the fifth-fastest marque during the race at Le Mans, he did admit it was a bit like ‘comparing apples to oranges.’

“In America it’s usually a bit the opposite, usually we’re a little slower on the straights,” he said.

“But then it’s hard to compare apples to oranges again, because in America usually we’re running a lot of downforce on the car because the tracks are a bit tighter and smaller.

“And then [at Le Mans], you’ve got these huge straights so it’s pretty much just trimmed out and so it feels a bit lighter. So it’s really hard to make a comparison.”

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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