After two wins in four races, Emil Frey Lexus Racing ready for next race meeting

  • Third round of International GT Open at Paul Ricard this weekend
  • Swiss team currently in P3 in Team´s Standings (4 points gap)
  • Costa Balboa / Frommenwiler in Runner-up position in Drivers’ Standings (5 points gap)

Safenwil (CH), 6 June 2017:
Emil Frey Lexus Racing has had a pleasing start into the 2017 test program with the new Lexus RC F GT3. With taking two victories in four races, the Swiss team is running in third place in the International GT Open Championship whilst the drivers Albert Costa Balboa (ESP) and Philipp Frommenwiler (CH) are currently Runner-ups in the Drivers’ standings. After race meetings in Estoril and Spa, Emil Frey Lexus Racing is now preparing for the third round of the season, taking place at one of the most modern race track facilities at Paul Ricard.

The French track at Le Castellet will host the fifth and sixth races of the International GT Open this coming weekend. The team´s Technical Coordinator, Hannes Gautschi, is looking ahead to the next race meeting. “We had a satisfying start into the season and have been able to follow our goals in terms of conducting our test and development program for the new Lexus RC F GT3. We were able to show the car´s potential at two very different race tracks and we are confident to also run competitively at Paul Ricard.”

Whilst the first three races of the International GT Open featured perfect conditions with warm temperatures and dry tracks, the fourth race (Spa) was shaken-up by torrential rain. However, this was a great testing ground for the team since it was the first time they were able to run the Lexus RC F GT3 in wet and slippery track conditions during a race.

“Both we and Farnbacher Racing have been able to underline the new Lexus´ performance by winning all four races so far in the International GT Open”, reflects Lorenz Frey, Team Principal Emil Frey Lexus Racing. “We had three fairly similar races in terms of track conditions, so it was quite helpful in a way to have rain during the last race in Spa. It is always something completely different to run a new car with wet tyres, to see how the balance handles, how the Set-up works and we were able to learn a lot from that race.”

Whilst the rain continued in Spa, the Spanish driver Albert Costa Balboa had a shining moment when he charged through the field coming from tenth place. Unfortunately, the team was not able to celebrate third place he took whilst crossing the chequered flag: a 20-second penalty given after the race resulted in P14. “We still can´t quite understand that penalty, because from our point of view, Albert did nothing wrong”, says Frey. “He was on the outside of the track and the Lamborghini had pushed him further out, he had nowhere to go. It should have been handled like a normal contact in wet race conditions, but unfortunately it wasn´t.”

Despite not taking third place, the team is still looking good in the championship rankings for both team and drivers, with the aim to take the lead following the next two races at Paul Ricard.

The race weekend at Paul Ricard will start with two 60-minutes free practice sessions on Friday, 9th June 2017. The first qualifying will take place on Saturday at 11:05am, with the first race of 70 minutes to follow at 4:15pm. Sunday sees the second qualifying at 09:40am with the 60-minute race at 2.15pm.

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Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #54

Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
“Taking race win at Spa felt amazing, because it is my absolute favourite track in the world. But I also very much enjoyed my stint in the wet race on Sunday. The conditions were tricky, but the Lexus still drove very well and was good to handle, a lot of fun to drive. Of course, it was disappointing for everyone in our team to get the penalty, because with P3 we would have been the leaders in both the team´s and drivers’ standings. But we are only four points behind for the team and we are confident that we can take the lead in Paul Ricard.”

Philipp Frommenwiler (CH)
“It has been a very exciting season so far and I am very happy how well we have worked as a team and as a driver pairing. It´s always different to drive for a team with a brand-new car, but it´s great to be part of this journey and to help develop the Lexus. It´s even sweeter when you are able to show the cars potential with two race victories – this way you can give something back to all the guys in the team working so hard.”