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.

Thompson Takes Full-Season Role with Vasser Sullivan for 2024 IMSA Season

Thompson Takes Full-Season Role with Vasser Sullivan for 2024 IMSA Season

CHARLOTTE, NC

After a successful IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut with Vasser Sullivan in 2023, Parker Thompson will move to a full-season role with the team in 2024. Thompson and teammate Frankie Montecalvo will drive the SealMaster liveried No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 entry in all IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD events. Aaron Telitz will join the duo for endurance contests.

The twenty-five-year-old Canadian is coming off a 2023 season where he contended four endurance events with the team, helping pilot the black, yellow, and green No. 12 to top-five finishes in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Sebring 12-Hour, while taking victory at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen. Thompson’s talent was also on display in GT4 categories. He earned the GR Supra GT4 EVO its first IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge victory at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in his series debut. He was also part of winning efforts at Circuit of the Americas and Sebring International Raceway in Pirelli GT4 America with Hanley Motorsports.

For Thompson, earning a full-season role with Vasser Sullivan and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship marks a significant step forward in his racing career.

Parker Thompson:

“I couldn’t be prouder to be racing in IMSA WeatherTech GTD full-time in 2024 with Vasser Sullivan and Lexus. After a decade of grinding my way up the ladder, it is a dream come true to earn a full-time position in this world-renowned sports car championship with such an esteemed team. The opportunity to continue to represent Vasser Sullivan and Lexus is something I don’t take lightly. I’m hungrier than ever to build off the success we had last year, especially when I get to drive with a stud like Frankie Montecalvo all season long! It’s also fantastic to have proven winner Aaron Telitz join us for the endurance rounds, and keep the continuity that led to the team’s successful finish in 2023. It’s incredible how fast your career can change when you are surrounded by good people, and you can’t find a better group of people than Sulli, Jimmy, Jeff Bal, and all of the men and women behind our Lexus RC F GT3. I can’t thank them enough. It’s time to give everything I have to fight for a Championship in 2024!”

The Vasser Sullivan squad returns to the track January 19-21 with the Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. Thompson, Montecalvo, Telitz, and the No. 12 GTD entry will run alongside the defending GTD Pro Champion No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 of Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat, and Kyle Kirkwood. Hopes are high for Vasser Sullivan and partner Lexus Racing USA as they look to build on the successes of their 2023 season. 

Vasser Sullivan Team Principals Jimmy Vasser and James’ Sulli’ Sullivan:

“We are competing for championships, and Parker, Frankie, and Aaron will co-drive the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus in our fight for the 2024 IMSA GTD class championship. Consistency is the nucleus of our GTD Championship bid, and we’ve got that here with these drivers who are all winners.” 

Jeff Bal, Senior Manager – Motorsports, Experiential Marketing & Sponsorships – Lexus Division

“We’re thrilled to have three race-winning drivers back with Vasser Sullivan in the No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3 for the 2024 season. Aaron and Frankie have both been key partners of ours behind the wheel of the RC F GT3, and we’re excited to see a young, up-and-coming talent like Parker competing full-time in the Lexus next season. All three drivers were a part of the program’s historic double win at Watkins Glen last season and we’re confident they will chase more wins and the GTD class championship in 2024.” 

ABOUT VASSER SULLIVAN

Vasser Sullivan Racing is owned by 1996 INDYCAR Champion, Jimmy Vasser and Dallas businessman James “Sulli” Sullivan. Vasser Sullivan is the reigning IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Champions, having clinched the 2023 GTD Pro Driver, Team, and Manufacturer Championship together with Lexus. Vasser Sullivan and Lexus have been partners since 2019, amassing an impressive record of 13 wins, 39 podium finishes and 18 pole positions in their five-year partnership.

Vasser and Sullivan first partnered together to compete in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES from 2011-2016 with Team KVSH. They teamed-up again for another four INDYCAR seasons as Dale Coyne Vasser Sullivan Racing. The Vasser Sullivan INDYCAR partnership has recorded six major INDYCAR wins including being crowned 2013 Indianapolis 500 champions.

Vasser and Sullivan together have won the IMSA GTD Pro Championship, the GTD Sprint Cup title, The Indianapolis 500, Petit Le mans, Watkins Glen Six Hours, medaled at the ESPN X-Games (Rallycross) and secured second and third place finishes at the famed Rolex 24 at Daytona.

 

About Lexus

The Lexus RC F GT3 enters its eighth season in the GTD class, and third year in the GTD PRO category, competing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Over the last six seasons, Lexus and Vasser Sullivan have combined to earn 13 wins, 39 podium finishes and 18 pole positions with the RC F GT3. Lexus won its first full-season IMSA GTD PRO Manufacturers Championship on the strength of two wins and podium positions in nine of 11 races in 2023.

Lexus’ passion for brave design, imaginative technology, and exhilarating performance enables the luxury lifestyle brand to create amazing experiences for its customers. Lexus began its journey in 1989 with two luxury sedans and a commitment to pursue perfection. Since then, Lexus has developed its lineup to meet the needs of global luxury customers in more than 90 countries. In the United States, Lexus vehicles are sold through 244 dealers offering a full lineup of luxury vehicles. With eight models incorporating Lexus Hybrid Drive, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader. Lexus also offers nine F SPORT models, one F performance model and one F model. Lexus is committed to being a visionary brand that anticipates the future for luxury customers.

Thompson Continues Upward Trend with Remarkable 2023 Season

Thompson Continues Upward Trend with Remarkable 2023 Season

After coming out on top in Carrera Cup North America last year, Parker Thompson showed no signs of suffering a championship hangover in 2023. The twenty-five-year-old Canadian followed up his championship season with standout performances in top-tier sportscar series. Joining the Toyota family, he drove the Lexus RC F GT3 and Toyota GR Supra GT4 EVO to victories in three series with three teams. At times, Thompson dominated his competitors, solidifying his position in sports car racing’s upper echelon and arguably delivering the most successful season of his career to date.

NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENTS FOR THE 2023 SEASON:

  • 18 Total Races: Thompson competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Vasser Sullivan Racing, the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with Hattori Motorsports, and the SRO Pirelli GT4 America with Hanley Motorsports.
  • 4 Race Victories and 5 Podiums: With wins in each series, Thompson claimed four race wins. He stood on the podium five times, with seven top-five finishes. 
  • Lightning Pace: Behind the wheel of a GR Supra GT4 EVO, Thompson posted the top time in five qualifying sessions (earning three pole starts) and set the fastest race lap in three contests.
VASSER SULLIVAN RACING AND IMSA WEATHERTECH:

Thompson’s season began in January at the Rolex 24 at Daytona with Vasser Sullivan and Lexus Racing USA. Alongside teammates Telitz, Montecalvo, and Kirkwood, Thompson excelled in the globally recognized GT3 contest, helping the black, yellow, and green No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3 earn a fifth-place finish in GTD. 

Thompson joined Vasser Sullivan for all four IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship endurance stops. At the Sebring 12 Hour, he set the No. 12’s best lap time as the team earned another fifth-place finish. At Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, an outstanding stint by Thompson established a significant margin for the race lead, putting his team in a commanding position to claim victory.

DEBUT WIN IN IMSA MPC WITH HATTORI MOTORSPORTS:

Thompson found instant success in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, piloting the No. 50 Hattori Motorsports, Weins Auto Group GR Supra GT4 EVO alongside Billy Johnson. On his native ground, at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Thompson earned the pole position and established a dominant lead through the first half of the two-hour contest. Johnson took over for the second half, and when the dust settled, the No. 50 came out on top. The result marked the first IMSA race victory for the Toyota GR Supra race car.

HANLEY MOTORSPORTS – FULL SEASON GT4 CAMPAIGN:

Joining forces with Robert Hanley, Thompson launched a new Hanley Motorsports team to take on Pirelli GT4 America with the No. 999 GR Supra GT4 EVO. Thompson led and mentored rookie co-driver Daniel Hanley, and the duo had an immediate impact on the series. Thompson earned the top time in seven official sessions throughout the season, starting from pole position twice and earning the Crowdstrike Fastest Lap award three times. The Hanley Motorsports team captured their first Silver-class race win at Circuit of the Americas in May, then took overall victory at Sebring in September.

After his triumphs in 2023, Thompson looks to continue his progression. With a new race season and January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona rapidly approaching, Thompson is hard at work, focused on claiming a premier North American sports car championship.

 

IN THOMPSON’S OWN WORDS:

“After the year I had in 2022, I had the highest expectations for this season. It did not disappoint! That said, there have been moments of uncertainty where I wasn’t sure which direction my career would lead. First, I must thank Jimmy and ‘Sulli’ of Vasser Sullivan for putting me in the Lexus Racing No. 12 RC F GT3. As demonstrated by their GTD Pro Championship win this season, they’ve assembled an outstanding team. I would be honored to play a role in their future endeavors. In Pirelli GT4 America, Rob Hanley put tremendous faith in me to help launch the Hanley Motorsports team and mentor his son, Daniel. I’m proud to have won in every race car I drove this year. That said, winning races is only part of winning championships. Whatever happens in 2024, earning another series title will be at the top of my mind!”

Thompson Readies for IMSA Showdown at Motul Petit Le Mans

Thompson Readies for IMSA Showdown at Motul Petit Le Mans

ATLANTA, GA

Parker Thompson is gearing up for an exciting finale of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The young Canadian is back behind the wheel of the No. 12 Lexus Racing USA RC F GT3 of Vasser Sullivan Racing. He will join Aaron Telitz and Frankie Montecalvo at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for the Motul Petit Le Mans, reuniting the team that secured victory in the GTD class at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen earlier in the season. They aim to replicate their success in the upcoming 10-hour endurance race this weekend.

Held at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, the Motul Petit Le Mans marks the fourth and final round of the Michelin Endurance Cup (MEC), a specialized championship within the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, focusing on endurance rounds. The ten-hour Motul Petit Le Mans takes center stage this weekend with an 11:40 AM EDT start on Saturday.

“I’m incredibly grateful to Jimmy and “Sulli” of Vasser Sullivan Racing for the opportunity to join their team for this iconic event. We’ve had great results together, including a win earlier this season at Watkins Glen. This weekend, I’m focused on supporting Aaron, Frankie, and the entire No. 12 Lexus Racing USA crew, hoping to close out the 2023 season in the best possible way.” – Parker Thompson

Activities on track run from Thursday through Sunday, with a packed weekend schedule also featuring season finale events in the Michelin Pilot Challenge, VP Racing SportsCar Challenge, and Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup. Those looking to take in all the race action at Motul Petit Lemans Qualifying can follow along at IMSA.TV. IMSA’s live streaming platform will broadcast all ten hours of Saturday’s race to viewers outside the United States. Within the United States, the big race will be available live on Peacock Premium.

About Vasser Sullivan Racing:

Vasser Sullivan Racing is owned by 1996 INDYCAR Champion, Jimmy Vasser and Dallas businessman, James “Sulli” Sullivan. Vasser Sullivan has been aligned with Lexus since 2019. During their four-year partnership, Vasser Sullivan and Lexus have amassed an impressive record securing 10 wins, 14 pole positions, and finishing on the podium a prominent 61% of the time. Vasser Sullivan were recently crowned 2022 Petit Le Mans Champions, giving Lexus its first IMSA endurance championship win. In 2022, the team finished second in the GTD PRO manufacturer, team and driver championships, finished second at the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona, and are the 2020 IMSA GTD Sprint Cup Champions. Vasser and Sullivan first partnered together to compete in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES from 2011-2016 with Team KVSH. They teamed-up again for another four INDYCAR seasons as Dale Coyne Vasser Sullivan Racing. The Vasser Sullivan INDYCAR partnership has recorded six wins including winning the 2013 Indianapolis 500.  

Event Information

2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 
Motul Petit Le Mans

Thursday, October 12, 2023
9:50 AM – Practice 1
2:35 PM – Practice 2
7:30 PM – Practice 3

Friday, October 13, 2023
3:20 PM – Qualifying

Saturday, October 14, 2023
8:45 AM – Warm Up
11:40 AM – Race Start

*All times EDT