Kyle Kirkwood will this weekend compete in both his AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet IndyCar and the Lexus RC F GT3 car in IMSA, sharing with Ben Barnicoat.
Barnicoat, who normally competes in the GTD Pro category for Vasser Sullivan Racing alongside Jack Hawksworth, will this weekend substitute for him in the GTD class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Detroit’s Belle Isle. Hawksworth sustained an injury in a motocross incident and although he has been released from hospital, he is convalescing at home in the UK. According to VSR, “a timeline for his return is yet to be determined”.
Today, Vasser Sullivan Racing confirmed that reigning Indy Lights champion and IndyCar rising star Kirkwood will join Barnicoat in the #17 Lexus RC F. With the GTD Pro class absent due to the Le Mans commitments of various teams and drivers, Vasser Sullivan has again doubled its GTD efforts, so the #12 car will be driven as usual by Frankie Montecalvo and Aaron Telitz.
Kirkwood is no stranger to the Lexus team, having raced in seven of the championship’s longer rounds, the Michelin Endurance Cup events. The 23-year-old from Jupiter, Florida, earned his first career IMSA pole position in 2021 at the six-hour race at Watkins Glen International, and co-drove the Lexus that earned a fourth-place finish in the Rolex 24 at Daytona this season. This weekend’s race will, however, be his first IMSA ‘sprint’ race for the brand.
Team co-founder James ‘Sulli’ Sullivan said the team was “energized to have Kyle competing with us on what will be a very busy double-header sportscar and IndyCar weekend for him in Detroit. These sprint races are an absolute 100-minute fight, and we’re looking forward to seeing Kyle take the gloves off!”
Kirkwood himself remarked: “Super-stoked to be back with Vasser Sullivan in the Lexus RC F GT3. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the car and I’m looking forward to competing in my first sprint race.
“I will be doing double duty in Detroit, racing in both IndyCar and IMSA. That means more track time for me, which will be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to driving the Vasser Sullivan Lexus again and I’m ready for the challenge.”
“We’re excited to see Ben and Kyle competing together alongside Aaron and Frankie in the GTD class this weekend and thrilled to see Jimmy and Sulli pushing to add even more excitement to the entry list,” said Lexus Motorsports manager Jeff Bal. “The drivers have bonded together quickly, and we’d love nothing more than to see both Lexus RC F GT3s on the Belle Isle podium again this year before the race moves back downtown in ’23.”