Vasser Sullivan Names Trio for Step up into New Class for 2022
By Jeff Olson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ben Barnicoat and Kyle Kirkwood will join Jack Hawksworth in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F GT3 in the new GTD PRO class for the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, the team announced Monday.
Barnicoat, who spent the last four years as a McLaren factory driver, will assume the role as full-time co-driver with Hawksworth, who has been with Vasser Sullivan since 2019.
Barnicoat, a 24-year-old from Chesterfield, U.K., competed in the GT World Challenge Europe last season, winning two pole positions. He also finished seventh in the 24 Hours of Spa and made his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut.
“It’s clear to me that (Vasser Sullivan is) the team to be with in IMSA right now,” Barnicoat said. “The level of professionalism, along with the dedication and hunger to win races and championships, was incredible, and I can’t ask for any more than that as a driver.”
Kirkwood, a 23-year-old from Jupiter, Florida, recently signed with A.J. Foyt Racing to compete in the IndyCar Series in 2022. He returns to Vasser Sullivan for a second season in endurance races in 2022, including the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona next month.
“We had a shot at winning every race in 2021 and unfortunately things didn’t go our way, but 2022 should be our year,” Kirkwood said. “We have the car, the crew and the drivers to make it happen.”
Hawksworth, who joined Lexus in 2017, returns to Vasser Sullivan for a fourth season with a resume that includes six victories and 10 podium finishes. In 2020, Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz won the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup Championship with three wins and five podium finishes in the GT Daytona (GTD) non-endurance races.
“I’ve been a part of the Lexus family for over five years now, and I can honestly say I’ve never been more excited about where the program is and where it is going,” Hawksworth said. “We have a fantastic group of people within the Vasser Sullivan team, and with the addition of some new faces, the team is continuing to push forward in the never-ending pursuit of excellence.”
GTD PRO will succeed GT Le Mans (GTLM) as the top level of WeatherTech Championship GT racing in 2022, featuring primarily factory-supported efforts. The GTD class will remain in its current form, using customer teams and requiring a driver rated at the Bronze or Silver level be paired with a higher-rated professional. Vasser Sullivan will also field a car in the GTD class, with driver announcements expected soon.
The 2022 WeatherTech Championship season begins Jan. 21-23 with the Roar Before the Rolex 24, a three-day practice at Daytona International Speedway that concludes with a 100-minute qualifying race to set the starting grid for the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The 60th Rolex 24 begins at 1:40 p.m. ET Saturday, Jan. 29.