Hawksworth “Gutted” After Dominant Run Turned to DNF

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Jack Hawksworth admitted feeling “gutted” after being denied GT Daytona class victory in Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Mid-Ohio due to suspension failure.

The No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 dominated the third round of the season, with pole-sitter Aaron Telitz leading all 33 laps of his opening stint before handing over to Hawksworth, who was seeking his third straight Mid-Ohio class win.

However, an issues with the the GTD contender’s left-rear suspension in the second hour sent the the car behind the wall and was later retired from the 2 hour and 40-minute race.

Lexus was seeking its fourth consecutive win at the track.

“It’s really disappointing that we’ve had a failure for the second time in three races,” Hawksworth said.

“Coming into the race, we topped every practice session and the Lexus RC F GT3 was one of the quickest cars of the weekend.

“We were dominating the race and had a great shot at the win and unfortunately the rear suspension failed and sent us to the garage.

“I’m gutted, but we’ll get them back at Detroit.”

Telitz described Sunday as a “pretty tough” day for the No. 14 crew, which was looking to rebound from a disappointing start to their season.

Hawksworth and Telitz had been coming off a seventh place class finish in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring after a brake rotor change and contact with a DPi car dashed hopes of a podium finish in Florida.

“Qualifying on pole and leading every lap of my stint before handing the car off to Jack and he had a big lead with the car and unfortunately we had a failure,” Telitz said.

“It really hurts. This is such a strong track for us and to not be able to make it four in a row is very disappointing. I know we’ll regroup, and we’ll come back and get the wins soon.”

The team’s No. 12 entry of Zach Veach and Frankie Montecalvo flew the flag for Lexus on Sunday with a season-best second place result, behind the class-winning No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 pairing of Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley.

It marked Veach’s first career IMSA podium in his first full season in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition.

“The last three years were tough for me, that’s no lie,” said former open-wheel ace Veach. “To come here and have a good result feels so nice.

“A big thank you to Vasser Sullivan, Lexus and especially Frankie for having a hell of a first stint. He gave me the car in a great spot and just held our own from there.”

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