Flying Lizard and Toyo Tires Add Porsche to Thunderhill Campaign
Flying Lizard Motorsports has announced the addition of a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to its NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Hawk Performance roster with Toyo Tires. The new arrival will join the 2015 race winning Audi R8 LMS, complete with a matching blue and white Toyo Tires/Flying Lizard livery. Tommy Sadler, Andy Wilzoch, Charlie Hayes, and Will Owen will complete the driver lineup, racing a 2009 chassis from Sadler’s own collection, brought out of storage and rebuilt from Flying Lizard’s extensive parts inventory.
“We are thrilled to expand our partnership with FLM to include Toyo Tires on the iconic Porsche RSR chassis’ that the team is so well known for,” said Marc Sanzenbacher, Sr. Manager, Motorsports at Toyo Tire. “We have said from the beginning that we are ‘in it to win it’ and the addition of this second Toyo Tires/ Flying Lizard car demonstrates our level of commitment to that mantra. Equally important from a developmental perspective, this expansion allows us the opportunity to collect additional data throughout this grueling 25 hour event that will benefit the next generation of Toyo Proxes tires.”
A valuable part of Flying Lizard Motorsports since its inception, Crew Chief turned Technical Director Tommy Sadler holds a notable resume as a driver as well. At the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, Sadler has participated in the event not only as crew chief, but also as a driver, winning overall in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
“All the racing I did at the 25 Hour was possible because of the crew that I worked with,” said Sadler, listing the who’s who of Flying Lizard drivers and crew. “Nico Castellaccio as a great crew chief, Johannes van Overbeek, Wolf Henzler, Rich Walton, Jon Fogarty, Guy Cosmo, Kelly Collins, Pierre Ehret, Mike Hedlund, Anthony Ward, Todd Grantham, Tom Hacker, and Spencer Trenery. My success was because of the people I worked with. I was just a part of the team. This year, I’ll be racing against most of the people I’ve raced with in the past.”
Andy Wilzoch joined Flying Lizard’s customer racing program in 2015, dominating in the Porsche Club of America to advance to the GT3 Cup Trophy USA and World Challenge GTA and SprintX classes. While he has limited experience at Thunderhill Raceway, the track holds a special place for Wilzoch, where in 1998 he received his SCCA license while renting a Datsun 510.
“I’m looking forward to making my 25 Hour debut with the Lizards,” said Wilzoch. “The guys are fantastic at putting together the proper car, and I have no doubt we’ll get up to speed in no time. It’s a long race, and a lot can happen, but I’m confident our Porsche will be competitive with the Toyo Proxes. It should be an exciting race.”
Currently a Crew Chief at Flying Lizard Motorsports, Charlie Hayes started his racing career in 2011 in the Spec Miata series in California. He continued his development in the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) in the Teen Mazda Challenge. Hayes has competed at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill three times with a best finish of fifth overall and second in class.
“I’m really excited to drive for Flying Lizard Motorsports and even more so to be in a Porsche RSR,” said Hayes. “I also get to continue my partnership with Toyo Tires in the 25 Hour with their top road racing development. Hope I can use my home track advantage to get up to speed quickly with the stout competition.”
Twenty-one year old Will Owen comes to Flying Lizard Motorsports with a short but strong resume in motorsports. He began his career with karting at age 15, quickly moving up the ranks to compete in five formula Mazda events by 2013. In 2014, he advanced to the Mazda Road to Indy, joining the USF2000 series before advancing to the Pro Mazda Series in 2015 and 2016. The 25 Hours of Thunderhill will mark his sports car GT racing debut.
“I am very excited to make both my GT and endurance racing debut with Flying Lizards Motorsports and Toyo Tires,” said Owen. “I have been following Flying Lizard for a long time, so actually getting to drive a Porsche with them is a dream come true. I have a lot to learn about endurance racing, and the 25 Hours of Thunderhill is going to be a great experience since the competition will be tough and there are a lot of really knowledgeable endurance racers on the Flying Lizards team I can learn from. Already I want to thank everyone involved for this opportunity; it’s going to be a lot of fun!”
Testing for the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Hawk Performance begins Thursday, December 1, followed by qualifying Friday evening. The field will take the green flag Saturday, December 3, at 11:00AM Pacific and the race will conclude Sunday at 12:00PM. For more information, visit nasa25hour.com.
About Toyo Tires®
Established in 1966, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. represents the innovation, quality, performance, and excellent service that Toyo Tires has delivered worldwide for 70 years. The company offers a full line of premium tires for nearly every vehicle including light trucks, SUVs, crossovers, sports cars, luxury cars and hybrids as well as commercial trucks. Many of the tires are built in the United States at their state-of-the-art factory in White, Georgia. To find the right tire for your vehicle as well as an authorized dealer, visit www.toyotires.com. Be sure to join the Toyo Tires community on: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
About Flying Lizard Motorsports
Since its inception in 2004, Flying Lizard Motorsports has become an iconic team in the world of sports car racing. The California based team has celebrated seven driver and team championships, as well as competed internationally at the 24 Hours of Le Mans eight times. The Lizards burst on the American Le Mans Series scene in 2004, competing in the GT class until 2012. In 2013, the team moved to the GTC class, still competing in legendary events such as the 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Daytona. In 2014, the team expanded its program to include running two Audi R8 LMS in the TUDOR Championship, and in 2015, again expanded the program to include two Porsches in Porsche Club racing, and two McLaren 650S GT3s with K-PAX Racing in the World Challenge series. Flying Lizard closed out the season with a dominating win at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill with Toyo Tires. In 2016, Flying Lizard supported K-PAX Racing to clinch the World Challenge Driver, Team, and Manufacturer Championships. No matter the race series or race car, Flying Lizard Motorsports has proven to be a championship contender in sports car racing. For more information, visit lizardms.com. For additional photos and all behind-the-scenes updates, check us out on Facebook, twitter and Instagram.