Thompson Earns Pole Position and Victory at Long Beach with Vasser Sullivan Lexus

Apr 21, 2024


Parker Thompson delivered a stunning performance at the Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend, taking pole position and victory alongside teammate Ben Barnicoat. The duo piloted a special No. 89 Vasser Sullivan Lexus GTD entry formed specifically for the Long Beach event where the GTD PRO class was absent. Thompson’s and Barnicoat’s triumph marks the second consecutive win for Vasser Sullivan and Lexus Racing USA at the prestigious Long Beach event. It is Thompson’s first victory of the 2024 season.

Thompson, who has recently shown outstanding qualifying pace in other series, has had great success with Vasser Sullivan early in 2024 as he moves into a new role with the team. The rising Canadian took pole position at the season opener in Daytona, was second in the field at Sebring, and then grabbed top honors again in a Friday evening qualifying session at Long Beach. His time of 1:17.357 seconds around the unforgiving street course marks a new record for the GTD class.

Taking the wheel at the start of the 100-minute contest, Thompson led every lap during an impressive stint, setting the stage for victory. Near the forty-minute mark, the team conducted a flawless pit stop and driver change, handing the number 89 off to Barnicoat. The black, yellow, and red Lexus momentarily surrendered the lead when other entries waited to complete their driver changes. Still, after all teams had cycled through the pits, they dominantly regained the lead position and charged to the checkered flag without incident.

Thompson praised the significance of the victory, acknowledging the historical connection behind the No. 89 Lexus. “Eight-nine honors the year 1989 when the Lexus brand launched in the USA,” said Thompson. “It’s fantastic to honor them and get the win. The team won here without me in 2023. Going back-to-back at Long Beach is fantastic and a testament to the excellence of our Vasser Sullivan, Lexus Racing USA team.”

Thompson continued, “I appreciated what Jimmy Vasser and James ‘Sulli’ Sullivan did with our driver lineup this weekend. This is only my sixth WeatherTech race, and it was my first street circuit event in the Lexus RC F GT3 – There’s still a lot for me to learn. Driving alongside someone as accomplished and talented as Ben Barnicoat is not an honor I’ve ever experienced. Since I joined Vasser Sullivan last year, we’ve been teammates, but this was our first opportunity to drive together.”

The victory at Long Beach is a significant milestone in Thompson’s impressive track record, still early in his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship career. In seven races, he has earned two top-fives and two victories, the first coming at Sahlen’s Six Hours of Watkins Glen last year.

Thompson’s next challenge will come at Sebring International Raceway as he joins Hanley Motorsports to pilot the No. 999 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR Supra GT4 EVO in Rounds 3 & 4 of the Pirelli GT4 America Championship from May 3rd to 5th. From there, he will return to the West Coast to reunite with Vasser Sullivan and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as he and Frankie Montecalvo pilot the No. 12 GTD entry at Laguna Seca, May 10th to 12th.


Motul Course de Monterey – May 12
Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix – June 1
Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen – June 23
Chevrolet Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park – July 14
IMSA Sportscar Weekend at Road America – August 4
Michelin GT Challenge at VIR – August 25 Battle on the Bricks at IMS – September 22
Motul Petit Le Mans – October 12

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