Pruett aims for podium in Lexus RC F’s development season

IMSA legend Scott Pruett has set high targets for F Performance Racing's inaugural U.S. campaign.

Pruett aims for podium in Lexus RC F’s development season
Scott Pruett
Lexus RC F GT3
Winners: #37 Lexus Team KeePer Tom's Lexus RC F: Ryo Hirakawa, Andrea Caldarelli
Lexus RC F GT3
#36 Lexus Team Petronas Tom's Lexus RC F: Daisuke Ito, James Rossiter
Lexus RC F GT3
#37 Lexus Team KeePer Tom's Lexus RC F: Ryo Hirakawa, Andrea Caldarelli
Scott Pruett

Pruett says he’s looking forward to taking on the challenge of a development program in 2016 as he and Paul Gentilozzi prepare to bring the Lexus RC F GT3 up to speed.

However, despite confessing to a long list of apparently significant improvements necessary to the Lexus, Pruett stated: “If we’re not on the podium next year, I’ll be incredibly disappointed."

Speaking at a Lexus Performance media event in Palm Desert, Calif., Pruett went on: “I’m truly excited about this program. It’s a chance to bring all my years of experience into play.

"And for me, personally, it’s epic. This is the start, ground zero, for [new Lexus sporting brand] F Performance Racing. It’s like being at the very birth of AMG with Mercedes or M for BMW.”

Pruett’s part in F Performance Racing is the latest challenge in a career dotted with significant development efforts, most recently contributing to Chip Ganassi Racing’s new Ford GT effort.

But even two decades ago, he was logging 10,000 miles of testing for Firestone tires, as the brand prepared to return to Indy car competition after a 21-year hiatus.

Now, despite being in the twilight of an illustrious career, Pruett isn’t trying to cruise and collect, nor enjoy the instant hit of walking into a winning team. He said he truly relished the hard work in building a team from the bottom and directing it toward the front of the grid.

“Yeah, I dig that,” he nodded. “People think I’m crazy and yes, it can be frustrating, but that type of work is also rewarding. And it’s not rocket science. You just have to do the work and – you never know – we might even steal a win down the road.”

It has not yet been confirmed in which series the car will race, but few doubt it will be in the newly branded IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Pruett hints that its competition debut could be as soon as May, which would mean an RC F GT3 could be on the IMSA starting grid at Laguna Seca, the WeatherTech championship’s fourth round.

The Lexus had a challenging start to its competition career, with lackluster results this year in the Blancpain Endurance Series and in Asia, and Pruett admits there is plenty of work to do before then.  

“We’re looking to reduce weight, lighten the engine and pick up more horsepower,” said Pruett, adding that the suspension and other components are also on the evaluation list. “If we feel competitive, we’ll go race. If we feel we’re not competitive, we’ll wait. It’s a really good position for Lexus to be in.”

Under the FIA driver categorization list released last week, Pruett – who turned 55 this year – takes an age adjustment and drops to Silver for 2016.

That puts him into the “amateur” sector, despite his four Grand-Am Rolex Series titles and five wins in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, but Pruett said he sees this as a positive. “Now that we know what category of driver I’m in, we can find a Gold or Platinum co-driver,“ he said.

Before the F Performance Racing team is on track, Pruett will return to Daytona as a prototype driver in search of a record-breaking sixth overall win in the Rolex 24 in January. He is confirmed in a Corvette Daytona Prototype for Action Express, a team he will also race for in the Sebring 12 Hours.

Interview by Jen Horsey

shares
comments
Mazda retains IMSA Prototype lineup for 2016
Previous article

Mazda retains IMSA Prototype lineup for 2016

Next article

Riley Motorsports to defend their Rolex 24 at Daytona GTD victory in No. 93 Dodge Viper GT3-R

Riley Motorsports to defend their Rolex 24 at Daytona GTD victory in No. 93 Dodge Viper GT3-R
Load comments
The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence Prime

The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence

Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the FIA World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy Prime

Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy

Can Mazda win this year’s IMSA Prototype championship? Undoubtedly. But it will be the culmination of an achingly hard struggle, after which the brand has decided to quit. David Malsher-Lopez tells the story of a bizarre blend of heartache and positivity.

IMSA
Apr 6, 2021
The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC Prime

The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s decision to scrap its GT Le Mans class for 2022 raises the question of whether the FIA World Endurance Championship should phase out GTE cars. But it's a much harder decision than it appears on the surface.

WEC
Feb 3, 2021
Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona Prime

Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona

After a 100-minute sprint race to whet the appetite, the 2021 IMSA SportsCar Championship gets underway properly this weekend. With plenty of significant changes during the winter, here are the key points you need to keep an eye on

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars Prime

Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars

Having gone over seven years without a race win through spells with McLaren, Renault and Haas, Kevin Magnussen's departure from Formula 1 for IMSA with big-hitters Chip Ganassi Racing could give him what he craves most - a chance of success

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights Prime

Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights

Oliver Gavin has stepped down from the full-time Corvette Racing line-up after a stellar career with the team spanning nearly 20 years. He looks back on a stint that encompassed, among other successes, five Le Mans 24 Hours victories.

Le Mans
Jan 28, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Prime

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it…

Le Mans
Jan 24, 2021
The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked Prime

The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked

The 2020 edition of the Florida sportscar classic is finally taking place this weekend, eight months after its traditional date in March. That meant there was plenty of time for Motorsport.com to pour over its previous 67 races and select the best.

IMSA
Nov 11, 2020