Flying Lizard Motorsports heads back to Florida this week for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring: the season-opener of the American Le Mans Series 2009 schedule, to be held on March 21. The Sonoma-based GT2 team will field two Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs, returning to Sebring as the defending champion of the ALMS GT2 drivers’ and team championships and looking to reprise their one/two podium finish at the grueling 12-hour race in 2008.
In the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche, Flying Lizard drivers Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long will be joined by Marc Lieb for the twelve-hour race. Lieb has raced with the Lizards numerous times over the last several years, and was part of the trio who won in GT2 in the No. 45 at Sebring in 2008 (with Bergmeister and Wolf Henzler). In the No. 44 Flying Lizard Porsche, Seth Neiman, Darren Law and Johannes van Overbeek will drive together, heading back to Sebring for an attempt at a second consecutive podium, after the car’s second place GT2 finish in 2008 (Neiman, Law, and Lonnie Pechnik).
Flying Lizard chief strategist Thomas Blam discussed the upcoming race, “The outcome at Sebring is determined by three main factors: the speed of the cars, their reliability, and the team’s performance in preparation and the pits. We’re heading into the first race of the season with two new Porsches. We’ve had the opportunity to run them here earlier in the year and are very pleased with their performance. Reliability has historically been a strong point for Porsche – so far, the new cars are continuing in that tradition. In terms of speed, it’s always hard to tell how things will stack up against the competition until you are actually at the race. Next week will be the first time we’ll run against the Ferraris this year, and the first time we’ll really see what the BMWs can do. We are cautiously optimistic that we’ll have two competitive cars in what will certainly be a tough, and large, GT2 field. One of the main areas we’ll focus on next week is making sure we are back at race pace for our pit stops and pit work.”
Flying Lizard team manager and strategist of the No. 44 Porsche Eric Ingraham talked about several other factors that play into the racing equation, “In addition to speed, reliability and the pit work, there’s also the aspect of the field overall. This year’s lineup is impressive: the number and speed of the P1 and P2 entries will create a lot of traffic for the GT2 cars to manage. The Corvettes will be back in GT1, and GT2 itself has fifteen entries already. This year’s 12 hours will be an exciting race, no doubt about it.”
Ingraham continued, “As always, I have a tremendous amount of confidence in our drivers. Last year, the No. 44 showed how competitive the car could be and Seth, Darren and Johannes have been strong in practice so far this year. And of course, Joerg and Patrick have demonstrated how seamlessly they can work together. It’s great to have Marc back with us too – he’s a talented driver and works very well with our team – he can drop right in and perform immediately at the highest level. But as Thomas said, you really never know how things are going to go until you are back racing. It’s been five months since we raced last at Laguna Seca, so we need to knock the rust off quickly and get back to it. Sebring is a long race at the start of a long season – anything can and will happen here and we need to be prepared to make the most of it.”
For details on the race week schedule, see the Sebring Event Tab on the home page at www.lizardms.com.
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