Flying Lizard Motorsports
Lizard Mid-Ohio Podium Hopes Disintegrate in Final 20 Minutes as Torrential Downpour Floods the Circuit
August 6, 2011 - Lexington, Ohio – It was a disastrous final few minutes at Mid-Ohio for the Lizards as Patrick Long – in second position in the No. 45 – hydroplaned on the flooded circuit, sliding off course into the gravel. It happened just minutes after teammate Darren Law in the No. 44 spun off the track at Turn 8 on the first lap of a restart. Both cars were able to rejoin, but the damage was done. The No. 45 finished ninth in GT, the No. 44 10th.
For the Lizards, it was a promising first race half. In the No. 45, Joerg Bergmeister started fourth on the GT grid and in the No. 44 Seth Neiman started 15th. The No. 56 BMW was on the pole, with the No. 55 BMW in P2 and the 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari in P3. At race start, the No. 4 Corvette got by the No. 45, but Bergmeister followed him through, overtaking the No. 55 and keeping P4. Over the next hour, still on a dry track, Bergmeister held position, turning the Porsche over to Long in P4. In the No. 44, Darren Law also took over from Neiman, who was now in P14.
Just past the one hour mark, Long moved to P2 with the No. 4 Corvette in the lead and the No. 56 BMW in P3. Over the next hour, cycling through numerous yellow flags, Patrick stayed close to the No. 4 Corvette, with the No. 3 Corvette moving to P3. In the No. 44, Law had moved to P13.
As rainclouds built on the horizon, the teams readied for wet conditions. Just before the 2-hour mark, the rain hit and both Lizard Porsches pitted for rain tires. The entire GT field pitted except the No. 62 Risi Ferrari, which stayed out and took the GT lead. Patrick rejoined after the tire change and fuel top up, now in second position, with Risi in the lead. Risi finally pitted (under yet another caution), and Long took the lead. Law, who had had a problem-free run, was in eleventh place in the No. 44.
Just after the next race restart, with visibility falling rapidly, the Falken No. 17 Porsche overtook Long to take the lead. Just minutes later, still under green flag, the circuit was completely flooded and cars began sliding and spinning everywhere.
Flying Lizard team manager Eric Ingraham commented, "Clearly, the conditions were extreme at this point, given the fact that half of the best drivers in the field couldn't stay on the track."
A few minutes after Long went off, a caution was called, and shortly after, a red flag. When the cars finally parked in pit lane, the No. 45 was ninth and the No. 44 tenth.
Law added, "That was such a difficult stint in the second half because the conditions changed so drastically. I went from slick tires in the dry to slick tires in the wet to semi-wet conditions on rain tires to a complete deluge on rains--all in about 30 minutes. At the last green flag, when I went off it was a complete white out from the spray of the other cars. Luckily I didn't go far off and got going again after they pulled me out and we were able to finish. Not the finish that we were hoping for, but thanks again to the guys for doing a great job with the car this weekend."
Up next for the Lizards is Road America, August 20.