Flying Lizard Endures Difficult Conditions to Finish Fifth at Petit Le Mans
After what can only be described as a race of survival, Flying Lizard Motorsports has closed out the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race season with a 5th place finish at Petit Le Mans.
With the all American lineup comprised of Guy Cosmo, Colin Thompson and Robert Thorne, the team ran a flawless weekend. Traditionally 10 hours long, the iconic endurance sports car event ended 7 hours and 51 minutes running after heavy downpour continued to fall on Road Atlanta. In weather repeatedly described by the participants as “sketchy” the drivers of the Audi R8 LMS raced cautiously in constantly changing conditions with almost no visibility.
As the race continued on, rivers and streams flowed down pit lane and across the track, turning the focus of the event to hydroplane management. Numerous crashes and spinoffs brought out several cautions, and even a red flag that essentially paused on track activities, until race officials finally decided to end the event as darkness fell with two hours remaining. The Audi R8 LMS returned to the garage in 5th position without a scratch, an impressive feat considering the numerous causalities of the disastrous conditions.
The soggy event concluded the 2015 TUDOR Championship season, of which, Flying Lizard participated in five events with Audi Sport Customer Racing. Plans for the team’s 2016 season will be announced in the coming months.
I was in the car for about an hour, if that. They were saving me for the end, and then the end never happened. I was pretty amped up and ready to go. These guys did an amazing job. It’s Flying Lizard! This team is incredible, and we had a really solid run. As predicted, we were cautious in the beginning and got ourselves through. Colin and Robert both did an amazing job behind the wheel. They were fast, consistent and clean. We were in position to strike in the end. I was all ready and excited to get in there and finish the battle. But in the end, P5, there it is. The checker flag flew early. Oddly enough, it’s not raining anymore. Anyway, the car was great. Once again, this proves that working with Audi Customer Racing is one of the smartest ways to go racing. We’re thrilled, and wish we could have bene on the podium. We will next time!
This has been my first time at Road Atlanta for Petit Le Mans. I’ve never done a race of this length to completion. It was interesting to get out there and to be in the position to have to run longer than one stint, which usually lasts an hour. Being out there for over three hours was pretty intense. It was a long time to be in the car, focused, and switched on. It was an interesting strategy, and I’m happy with how I did. I was able to set fast time for the team and keep it up front, on the lead lap, which was the goal. When I was in the car, it wasn’t so much to be first and set the fastest time. It was a long, messy race and we paced ourselves well. Mission accomplished for all of us. We were intending on going another two hours, in those last two hours, strategy changes. It was good and we were excited to switch on and go for broke with Guy and maybe me in before the end. It would have been fun to see where we would have ended up. The guys at Flying Lizard Motorsports did an awesome job on the car, and we were right on pace. We had a car for the podium, but a top five finish is great as well.
It was a great day in the car. It was obviously not the finishing position we wanted, but we were able to keep the car clean the entire time and run some quick laps. There were really tough conditions out there, and it was really challenging for all of the drivers. I’m proud of my teammates and the Audi for hanging in there. Everyone kept it on the track, which was hard to do. With the race finishing short, it was hard to hit our strategy spot on. With a little more time, we would have been able to get the car up front, as the cars ahead of us needed to pit soon. We definitely had the pace at the end of the race and had our rain set up sorted out. We were looking for a top finish.
Darren Law // Program Manager
What a way for Flying Lizard to close out the 2015 race season. We knew we had a great driver line up and we had confidence in how to run this race as we’ve done it many times. We’re very proud of our drivers and how they performed. Robert, Colin and Guy all drove a nearly flawless race. They were quick and the car is back without a single scratch on it, which was not easy in the conditions we had today. We are also very so proud of the team having only run a limited schedule in IMSA this season. Our guys got right to it and never skipped a beat. We were on a great strategy and would have been in great position had the race gone the whole distance but I think it was the right call to end it early. We’re looking forward to announcing our plans for 2016 soon.
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About Flying Lizard Motorsports
Flying Lizard is based in Sonoma, California, and has competed in the American Le Mans Series for ten consecutive seasons, from 2004 to 2012 in the GT class and in 2013 in GTC, along with the inaugural season of the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship in the GT Daytona class in 2014. The Lizards have won two ALMS GT team championships (2008 and 2009), one ALMS GTC team championship (2013), and have secured three ALMS GT Drivers’ championships (2008, 2009, and 2010). Flying Lizard has also competed in the 24 Heures du Mans from 2005 through 2012, finishing third in 2005, fourth in 2006, sixth in 2008, sixth in 2011, and fourth in 2012. Please visit the team website at www.lizardms.com and the team store at www.flyinglizardstore.com. Follow Flying Lizard Motorsports on twitter, and like us on Facebook for all team updates.
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.