With Vasser Sullivan Lexus driver Jack Hawksworth continuing to recover and rehabilitate from an injury suffered while training, the North Carolina-based team and the luxury and performance brand owned by Toyota have drafted in 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Kamui Kobayashi to partner with Ben Barnicoat in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 at CTMP this weekend.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to drive the Lexus RC F GT3 with Vasser Sullivan this weekend in Canada,” the factory Toyota WEC Hypercar driver said. “I wish Jack a good recovery from his injury and hope he is back in the car soon. Obviously, my experience is quite low in a GT car. It’s going to be quite different than what I’m used to driving and it’s going to be challenging, but I’m excited to see how well the RC F handles. I have a lot of support from the Vasser Sullivan team, Lexus and TRD, USA to help make me comfortable going to Canada. It will be a challenge, but I’m looking forward to it.”
A two-time winner of the Rolex 24 At Daytona and a frequent co-driver in IMSA’s longer WeatherTech SportsCar Championship events, the Japanese driver is no stranger to the series or its drivers. Trading a DPi for a V8-powered Lexus coupe in the GTD Pro category, however, will mark a significant departure for Kobayashi, but he’ll have Barnicoat to lean on while getting up to speed at CTMP.
“It’s great to be heading straight to Canada on the back of a positive endurance race at Watkins Glen International where we showed great pace in the Vasser Sullivan No. 14 SealMaster Lexus RC F GT3,” the Briton said. “We’ll be looking to continue the momentum going into Canada. I’m extremely excited to be sharing a car with Kamui.
“He was a Formula 1 driver when I was growing up, coming through the ranks of motorsports so that’s going to be an amazing opportunity for me to share our Lexus with a driver of his caliber and also help guide him with our RC F GT3. We’re aiming to have a strong weekend and continue pressing on for the championship as we head into the second half of the season.”