Fuel Saving Stint Pays Off with Fourth Place Finish for Thompson and Vasser Sullivan at Detroit GP

Fuel Saving Stint Pays Off with Fourth Place Finish for Thompson and Vasser Sullivan at Detroit GP

DETROIT, MICHIGAN

An early pit stop and an extended race-closing stint for Parker Thompson yielded impressive results for Vasser Sullivan in a GTD PRO weekend at the Detroit Grand Prix. Driving the No. 15 SealMaster liveried Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, Thompson and teammate Frankie Montecalvo showcased great performance in Saturday afternoon’s race, driving through the field from a 10th place starting position to finish fourth on the unforgiving Detroit street circuit.

With their regular GTD class not in action, Thompson and Montecalvo made their debut in the GTD PRO category, piloting the No. 15 entry alongside Vasser Sullivan teammates Ben Barnicoat and Jack Hawksworth in the No. 14 machine. Montecalvo, who qualified tenth, made an impressive start, moving up three positions on the opening lap to seventh. He then handed the reins over to Thompson just after completing the minimum required driving time of ten minutes. The team took a calculated risk with an early pit stop, requiring Thompson to manage the remaining 89 minutes without making another stop. Benefitting from four caution periods, Thompson demonstrated exceptional patience and performance, advancing through the field to finish fourth.

Reflecting on the race, Parker Thompson said, “We’re in Detroit, there are lots of casinos here so why not take a gamble and see what happens. Huge hats off to Colin Mason and Chris Andrews. These guys have been really good on the box. They just needed one to fall their way. An excellent strategy, pit stop, and great execution from what is normally the 12 team worked out great for us here this weekend. I’m so glad to see my Vasser Sullivan boys get this result. They’ve deserved this better at every stop so far this season. Because this was a one-off entry into GTD PRO, this isn’t a points weekend for us, but it does give us some great momentum rolling into Watkins Glen, a place where we know our Lexus RC F GT3 is fast.”

In three weeks time at Watkins Glen, Thompson will return to his regular position behind the wheel of the No. 12 SealMaster Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 in the GTD Class. As an endurance round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, he will be joined by both Montecalvo and Telitz as the trio look to defend their 2023 win at the famed Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, June 21-23.

UPCOMING IMSA WEATHERTECH SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP EVENTS

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
Tirerack.com Battle on the Bricks at IMS – September 22
Motul Petit Le Mans – October 12

For more details and broadcast information, visit imsa.com.

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

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

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA

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.

UPCOMING IMSA WEATHERTECH SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP EVENTS

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
Tirerack.com Battle on the Bricks at IMS – September 22
Motul Petit Le Mans – October 12

For more details and broadcast information, visit imsa.com.

Thompson Displays Tenacity in Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

Thompson Displays Tenacity in Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

SEBRING INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, FL

Parker Thompson, alongside teammates Frankie Montecalvo and Aaron Telitz, demonstrated unwavering determination in Round 2 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Piloting the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus Racing USA RC F GT3 in the GTD class, the group faced an endurance race marked by ups and downs, ultimately reaching the finish thirteenth in class.

Thompson, who qualified third but started second due to a competitor’s penalty, showcased skill and pace, taking the class lead on the opening lap and maintaining it throughout his first stint before handing the car off to Montecalvo. Despite mid-race setbacks, including a drive-through penalty and car damage, the team remained resolute, battling to stay in contention at the front end of the GTD field.
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Reflecting on the race, Thompson remarked, “The 12 car just needs a little luck. When I look back at this weekend, we did everything right. Unfortunately, the race didn’t fall our way.” He emphasized the team’s perseverance, stating, “We don’t give up, and that was true throughout the race. We kept digging all the way to the end, and I’m proud of us for not giving up.”

Thompson led the No. 12 squad, marking the fastest Lexus RC F GT3 lap and single-handedly piloting the wounded car through the final 3.5 hours. A challenging conclusion saw a collision with a back marker take them out of contention for a top-five finish. Thompson expressed confidence in the team moving forward, “We’re about to start the sprint season, and I’ve never been more confident in this group. They believe in me, and I believe in them. Our program continues to shine and was especially evident in the performance of the #14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus Racing USA GTD Pro entry this weekend. Congratulations to them on their win.”

Thompson and full-time season co-driver Montecalvo will continue their campaign in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with the Grand Prix of Long Beach, held from April 19th to 21st. The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring showcased Thompson’s resilience and the team’s unwavering spirit, setting the stage for an exciting season ahead.

UPCOMING IMSA WEATHERTECH SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP EVENTS

Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach – April 20
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
Tirerack.com Battle on the Bricks at IMS – September 22
Motul Petit Le Mans – October 12

For more details and broadcast information, visit imsa.com.

Robust Effort from Thompson and Vasser Sullivan at Rolex 24 Ends in the Final Hour

Robust Effort from Thompson and Vasser Sullivan at Rolex 24 Ends in the Final Hour

DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY, FL

The 62nd annual Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona took place this past weekend, opening the 2024 race season as Parker Thompson joined a four-driver line-up with Vasser Sullivan and Lexus Racing USA. For the second consecutive year, he drove the No. 12 Seal Master Lexus RC F GT3, performing well in the star-studded sports car field. Thompson made an impact before the race even began, earning a new GTD class lap record during Qualifying to put the No. 12 first among twenty-three GTD entries for the 24-Hour race start on Saturday afternoon.

Lexus Racing USA veterans Aaron Telitz and Frankie Montecalvo joined Thompson to pilot the black and yellow GTD-class Lexus, with current Japanese Super GT and Super Formula Champion Ritomo Miyata also appearing. The four drove a strong race, leading the race early on and maintaining striking distance to the class leader as time ran down. Unfortunately, in the final hour, an onboard fire forced the No. 12 to retire and ended the team’s bid for a podium finish. Thompson was on pit lane at the time, holding the fifth position in class. Results show the No. 12 Seal Master Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 finished fifteenth in GTD.

Thompson expressed disappointment following the contest, saying, “It’s gut-wrenching to see our race end so close to the finish line. Daytona can be a cruel place – from the weeks of preparation leading into the weekend to the 24-hour contest itself; this event asks so much of drivers, teams, and machinery. In the end, no matter how prepared you are, you aren’t going to find the podium without a bit of luck. I’m proud of my efforts early in the race, through the night, and into the morning. Frankie, Aaron, and Ritomo put in heroic efforts behind the wheel. Our crew did an outstanding job. We were positioned for a hard fight in the final hour. Ultimately, our luck ran out too soon.”

Thompson maintained an upbeat attitude, sharing optimism for the season and ten remaining rounds. “We may not have earned the result we were looking for here, but our pace in qualifying pace and in the race was where we wanted it to be. No one works harder than our group. Even when things aren’t going our way, the Vasser Sullivan, Lexus Racing USA garage is an exciting place to be. We’ll regroup and bring our best to Sebring.”

The 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship resumes on March 16th with the Sebring 12HR. There, Thompson, Montecalvo, and Telitz will look to improve on the team’s Round 1 result and their fifth-place finish at the Sebring race in 2023.

Season Schedule

Rolex 24 at Daytona –  January 27–28
Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring 12 – March 16
Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach – April 20
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
Tirerack.com Battle on the Bricks at IMS – September 22
Motul Petit Le Mans – October 12

For more details and broadcast information, visit imsa.com.

Thompson Earns Historic Pole Position at Daytona for Vasser Sullivan and Lexus

Thompson Earns Historic Pole Position at Daytona for Vasser Sullivan and Lexus

DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY, FL

Parker Thompson opened the race season in style with a stellar qualifying performance for the 2024 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Driving the No. 12 SealMaster Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, Thompson secured pole position in the GTD class. The achievement comes in the Canadian’s first qualifying effort with the Vasser Sullivan squad and the illustrious IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Significant Achievements:
  • Thompson’s best lap secured the first GTD pole for the Vasser Sullivan team at the event.
  • His 1:44.494 second lap marked a new record for the GTD class on the famed 12-turn, 3.56-mile Daytona road course.
  • Teammate Jack Hawksworth piloted the No. 14 SealMaster Vasser Sullivan Lexus to a second-place starting position in the GTD Pro class.

Parker Thompson:

“This means everything to me. Two years ago, I was high in the grandstands, spotting. Now I’m down here in victory lane collecting my first pole. I’m one for one, and I couldn’t have done it without Jimmy (Vasser), Sulli (James “Sulli” Sullivan), and the entire Vasser Sullivan Lexus Racing organization. This is such a solid group! I’m proud to get the No.12 car off on the right foot for 2024. We want to build momentum. We knew we had a great car. There’s no better place to start than at the front!”

The No. 12 SealMaster Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 will look to covert their on race day. Accomplished veterans Frankie Montecalvo and Aaron Telitz, plus reigning Japanese Super Formula and Super GT Champion Ritomo Miyata, will pilot the black and yellow No. 12 SealMaster Vasser Sullivan Lexus alongside Thompson. Twenty-three GTD entries, thirteen GTD Pro entries, and twenty-three entries in prototype classes are slated to take the green flag when the 2024 Rolex 24 at Daytona starts on Saturday, January 27, at 1:40 PM EST.

 

Event Schedule

Thursday, January 25, 2024
10:05 AM – WeatherTech Championship Practice 1
2:10 PM – WeatherTech Championship Practice 2
6:35 PM – WeatherTech Championship Practice 3

Friday, January 26, 2024
11:20 AM – WeatherTech Championship Practice 4

Saturday, January 27, 2024
1:40 PM – Rolex 24 At Daytona Race Start

For more details and broadcast information, visit imsa.com.