By Jeff Olson
As much as they enjoy racing at Daytona International Speedway, Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz were looking for a change of scenery. They’ll find it this weekend at Sebring International Raceway.
"As much as we love Daytona, quite frankly we’ve been there so much already this year testing and racing and whatnot," said Hawksworth, who will share the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 with Telitz in Saturday’s Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring. "We’re ready to shift to another circuit. Of all the tracks on the calendar, Sebring is definitely one of the best."
So far during the redesigned WeatherTech Championship season, Daytona has been the only venue. The 2020 calendar opened with the Rolex 24 At Daytona before the Coronavirus pandemic forced changes. The season resumed July 4 with the IMSA WeatherTech 240 At Daytona.
That left two drivers eager to race somewhere else.
"I’ll be honest. I’m really looking forward to driving at a racetrack that’s not Daytona right now," Telitz said. "I love Daytona. Not trying to knock it, but I’m excited to get a little variety in the 2020 season. … We had great results at Daytona a couple of weeks ago, and there’s no reason we can’t have a repeat performance."
Sebring International Raceway’s 3.74-mile, 17-turn circuit provides a unique challenge to drivers in the GTD class. The length, changing surfaces and difficult turns require technical skills and focus.
"It’s very technical, a really long lap," Hawksworth said. "It’s one of those circuits that’s over two minutes a lap for a GTD car. I always enjoy those tracks — a lIttle bit more technical, a little bit more to them. I’m super stoked to get back down there."
Hawksworth leads the WeatherTech Championship GTD standings by three points over Telitz. The pair won the GTD class in the IMSA WeatherTech 240 At Daytona on July 4, finishing 14th overall.
But this weekend’s race only counts toward the WeatherTech Sprint Cup standings for the GTD class and not the full WeatherTech Championship. With their Daytona victory earlier this month, the No. 14 duo shares the early lead for the Sprint Cup.
"It’s awesome to be part of such a competitive team and being able to go out and get a win in our first run together," Telitz said. "That just makes it more fun, obviously. Winning is fun. So as long as we keep winning — or even if we’re not winning — we’re going to have fun."