There’s no such thing as the off-season for the new AIM Vasser Sullivan IMSA team.
After losing out on the Lexus bid last summer, they won it this year will debut in 2019 with a pair of Lexus RC F GT3s in IMSA Weathertech Championship GTD division. It replaces the short-lived Lexus GT3 partnership.
The team was formally introduced last month and features 1996 CART champion Jimmy Vasser and James Sullivan with longtime sports car competitors AIM Autosport – owned by Andrew Bordin, Ian Willis and Keith Willis.
"We were involved in one of the original bids with the Lexus program prior to the last team, which did not go through," Sullivan said in a statement. "The timing wasn’t right for a lot of reasons. Post that happening, we never took our eye off of it. We attended two IMSA events over a three-year period to try to stay close to it and connected to it. I would say since that period, we’ve never taken our eye off the ball.
"We love IndyCar racing, but we think that IMSA, specific to GTD, is just in a great spot with regards to its relevancy to the manufacturer and specific to our program with Lexus. Jimmy is a Toyota dealer, so the tie-in back to the showroom and the sale of automobiles is a personal thing for our partnership. I think that GTD and IMSA as a platform as it relates to that is the best thing going out there, so we’re really excited to be in it for a lot of reasons, but that being one of them."
The team is located at Charlotte, North Carolina.
"We have a lot to do, of course, but it’s very exciting," Vasser said. "We’ve got the new facility here in Charlotte that’s absolutely fantastic and perfect for us. We have three Lexus RC F GT3s on the ground here. We have things flying around, bodies here working."
The shop used to belong to Change Racing and was ideal due to its proximity to Toyota's regional headquarters in Huntersville, North Carolina.
"The primary boxes that we had to check was, one, it was important for us to have a geographical vicinity to TRD," Sullivan said. "It’s still a customer program at the end of the day, but we have TRD as a partner from an engineering perspective and from a human resources perspective. It was not critical, but very important for us to have an operational base that was close to them.
"This shop was on the ground, it was available, and it had already been basically set up as a GTD operation, so it was pretty plug and play for us to be able to move right in and get started right away. As you can tell right now, there’s not enough hours in the day for what it is that we’re trying to achieve. The first step is functionality, but this shop that we’re in now checked all those boxes, so I think it’ll be a great place for us."
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