AIM Vasser Sullivan has been one of a handful of teams in recent weeks that headed south to Florida for testing ahead of January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona, the season-opener for the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The Lexus team will have even more eyes on it during the upcoming twice-around-the-clock contest, as it was announced last week that 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch – who also is among the Championship 4 heading into Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway – would be joining the driver lineup. It is not yet confirmed if Busch will compete in the No. 12 or No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3.
After the news, both Frankie Montecalvo and Jack Hawksworth were on hand at the World Center of Racing as part of the team’s two-day test last week and were eager to work with the stock car star. They both had been with Busch the day prior at Toyota’s annual Motorsport Day in Dallas the day prior.
“It’ll be cool to work with Kyle,” said Hawksworth. “He’s hugely experienced in NASCAR and a fantastic driver. He’s won the (NASCAR) Cup, a high form of racing, so obviously very talented. It’s obviously very interesting seeing him come to a completely different style of racing, different style of car and see how he gets on. I’m looking forward to working with him and seeing how he does.”
“I think it’ll be really interesting having his experiences at a track like this,” added Montecalvo. “It should be a learning experience a little bit, but we’ll see what we can do.”
The Rolex 24 is known to attract high-profile drivers like Busch from other racing series around the world. Hawksworth isn’t concerned though about the brighter spotlight placed on the team and instead views it as an opportunity for all of IMSA.
“He’s a quality driver, we want to put the best drivers in the car that we can,” said the Brit. “He’s obviously very talented, so just looking forward to getting him in the car and seeing what he does. I think for the brand and for the team, it’s great to have a driver of that notoriety from the perspective that it brings attention to the series, brings attention to the team and it can be a good thing for not just our team, but everyone involved with it.”
AIM Vasser Sullivan’s two entries finished in the top five of the WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class this past January in its first season as an IMSA team. The No. 12 Lexus – which Montecalvo ran in – finished second, while the No. 14 wound up fifth with Hawksworth as a part of that lineup.
“We’re taking that experience we’ve gained over an entire season, going back to a race where we’ve seemed to have some good luck, but at the same time had a great run,” said Montecalvo. “We’ll build off of that and staying out of trouble in a 24-hour race like the Rolex is key, so that’s what we’ll do.”