Despite an incredible joint effort between Flying Lizard Motorsports and Krohn Racing at the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona, both teams will continue to seek their first win at the legendary sports car endurance event. In a race where it would have been easier to give up than to finish the race, the team pushed on, determined to finish the challenge they started, until a mechanical issue ended the race early for the team.
The team’s hopes of victory were cut short at the one hour mark when the No. 45 Audi R8 LMS was hit by a prototype, damaging the front splitter and causing a massive vibration. Forced to pull the car behind the wall for repairs in the garage, the team spent 12 laps mending the splitter before sending her back out. An hour later, the demands of Daytona’s high banks on the car were too much strain for the repaired splitter, needing again to go behind the wall, putting the team in last position in the GTD class. Despite the early setbacks, the Audi R8 LMS showed great speed, with drivers Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson, Christopher Haase, and Pierre Kaffer slowly and strategically working their way back up the charts.
As the day turned to night, the team raced on, strategically using caution periods and pit stops to gain back lost laps. Late in the race as the team had made up several positions, Christopher Haase reported he had lost 2nd and 3rd gear, making it difficult to race. With just four hours remaining in the race, the team officially retired.
Not to be deterred, Flying Lizard Motorsports and Krohn Racing will again join forces for IMSA’s 12 Hours of Sebring in March, with driver announcements to be released at a later date.
It’s really unfortunate that we had to end our 24 Hour early. The guys did a great job, the car was fast, the drivers were fast and we honestly had a shot at the podium. The Daytona 24 is a difficult event, sometimes it goes your way, and sometimes it doesn’t. We’re happy about how we performed in this event and are looking forward to Sebring.
Although our race didn’t go as planned, I’m proud of the drivers and team for the efforts they made to achieve a good result. Unfortunately, the early race contact set us back, but they never gave up. With the Rolex 24, there’s always a lot of carnage out there, and this year, we were caught up in it. Everyone was excellent to work with, and Audi offered incredible support. We couldn’t have gotten two better factory drivers to drive with than Pierre and Christopher. It was a difficult race, but now we’re pushing forward to focus our efforts on Sebring.
It’s always great to kick off the season with the 24 Hours of Daytona, but unfortunately, the race did not turn out the way we were hoping for. The Lizard team had prepared a great and fast race car for us, but after being hit in the first few hours by a prototype, and experiencing issues with the front splitter, we were forced us back to the garage for repairs, and lost 12 laps. After this, the car performed very well and the pace showed to be good and consistent to be among the top 5 fastest cars. We faced several more mechanical challenges throughout the race that finally made us retire from the race about three hours from the end with a gearbox problem. The team fought tirelessly the whole time and did a great job getting the car back out on track every time we had a problem. I’m very thankful to the whole Lizard organization for their hard and professional work. I also want to say thank you to my teammate and friend of 12 years Tracy Krohn, for making this possible, and to our co-drivers from Audi, Pierre Kaffer and Christopher Haase, who was a pleasure to work with. I’m also very thankful to Audi Sport Customer Racing for their very professional and excellent support, throughout the whole event.
I have to say the result was not what we expected. We had a car that was fast and able to fight against the new cars. We were in a good position to do something special. Unfortunately, like many 24 Hour races, we got into a little bit of trouble and had a splitter issue, which cost us a lot of time. In the end, we thought it was our gearbox, so we had to stop the race. I’m really proud of the team. They never gave up and always tried to fix the car during the race. The mechanics put lots of effort into it. I’m disappointed, but that’s racing. The good thing is if you see a team that puts so much effort into it, you can smile at the end.
Of course it’s always disappointing to not finish a 24 hour race, especially here at Daytona. On the other hand, I have to say we had a pretty good car from the beginning. Luck was not on our side, but we really tried to never give up. They always brought the car back to the track. We struggled a bit from the first contact. Everything that happened during our race was a result of that contact. We fought, and our lap times were always on pace. That was a good sign. I really enjoyed my first time working with Flying Lizard. Tracy did a great job during the test and during the race. What happened wasn’t his fault. The harmony was there with us and Nic, and Christopher. I really enjoyed the whole project. Unfortunately, we haven’t been so lucky, but we need to stick together and look forward for the next race.
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 six 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. 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 www.lizardms.com. For additional photos and all behind-the-scenes updates, check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About Audi of America and the Audi R8 LMS
Audi began a new chapter in 2009 with the introduction of the Audi Sport customer racing program. For the first time it was possible for motorsport customers to acquire a race car designed for customer racing events. Since its inception, the success of the R8 LMS has been significant throughout the GT3 racing format worldwide, including victory in the GT class in the 2013 edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The Audi R8 LMS shares more than 50% of its parts with the Audi R8 street car including the naturally aspirated V10 5.2 Liter engine, the Audi Space Frame and a variety of other components.
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. Audi was a top-performing luxury brand in Europe during 2012, and broke all-time company sales records in the U.S. Through 2016, AUDI AG will invest about $17 billion on new products and technologies.