Emil Frey Lexus Racing to challenge for lead in the International GT Open
• Drivers Costa Balboa / Frommenwiler in reach of grabbing championship´s lead
• Four remaining races of the International GT Open Championship
• Next stop: the high-speed track of Monza (Italy)
Safenwil (CH), 26 September 2017:
Emil Frey Lexus Racing is heading for the countdown of this year´s International GT Open Championship. After a phenomenal weekend at the last round at Silverstone with one race victory and a third place, the Swiss team is going to fight for the lead in the championship at the Italian track of Monza this coming weekend. With three race wins under their belt, the drivers Albert Costa Balboa and Philipp Frommenwiler are only four points behind in second place, whilst the team is 28 points behind in third place in the team´s standings.
Silverstone proved to be the turning point for Emil Frey Lexus Racing, after the Swiss team suffered a string of bad luck at Paul Ricard and Budapest. But with a straight start-to-finish victory and a third place coming from all the way down from P12, the Lexus crew is back in the hunt for the championship titles – taking into consideration this is the debut year with the all-new Lexus RC F GT3.
“Of course, we are very pleased with the progress we have made with the Lexus RC F GT3, but we are also not counting the eggs before they hatch,” says Hannes Gautschi, Technical Coordinator Emil Frey Lexus Racing. “There are still four races to go and anything can happen. It has been a very mixed-up season and we are not relying on things coming our way. We will fight until the very end and will give our best to have another good weekend, but the main focus is still the development of the car and going forward – earning race wins is just a very nice extra to thank everyone in the team for all their hard work.”
Emil Frey Lexus Racing only recently explored new territories when competing in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup at the Nürburgring. Whilst the Lexus RC F GT3 saw the chequered flag in both the Qualification Race and the main Sprint Cup Race, it was still a steep learning curve for the team. “It was a new adventure for us and we have gained an incredible amount of knowledge about new tyres and new Set-up improvements”, says Lorenz Frey, Team Principal Emil Frey Lexus Racing. “I think the experience we have gained will benefit us on our further way in the test program, but also in running in the International GT Open. It is still a dream for us to be so competitive this year, but we are keeping our focus on each and every race and not getting ahead of ourselves.”
With their third place at the last race at Silverstone, Emil Frey Lexus Racing is facing a 22-second-penalty for the #54 Lexus RC F GT3 in the first race at Monza. The traditional track at Monza is known as a very high-speed circuit that rewards cars with power and low downforce, all features the Lexus can count on, but with the Balance of Performance it will not be an easy task at the Italian track.
The race weekend at Monza will start with two 60-minutes free practice sessions on Friday, 29 September 2017. The first qualifying will take place on Saturday at 11.35am, with the first race of 70 minutes to follow at 4.15pm. Sunday sees the second qualifying at 10.15am with the 60-minute race at 2.15pm.
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Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #54
Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
“I am quite motivated to arrive at Monza and fight for the lead in the championship, but it will be quite tough since it is the home race for Imperiale Racing. We have a very strong team, the Lexus RC F GT3 is going to work well, too. We might struggle a little in terms of top speed because of the Balance of Performance especially on such a high-speed circuit as Monza, but I believe in our team and I am confident that we can be on top. My goal is not losing more points and to close the gap to the front runners. The ultimate goal is to reach the podium in both races, but it will be difficult on Saturday since we have the penalty from the last result at Silverstone. As always, I am 100% motivated and I can´t wait to show both the potential of the car and the team.”
Philipp Frommenwiler (CH)
“I have high expectations for Monza. We were very strong at Silverstone and we are aiming to continue like that this weekend, too. We are also well-prepared and ready for the last remaining four races. I think, there will be many competitors to fight for the podium. The Lamborghinis and BMWs will be strong as well as the Ferraris, it should be a nice mixed-up field right at the front. I know the track at Monza very well and have raced there many times over the past years. I also like the layout and look forward to drive there with the Lexus RC F GT3 for the first time.”