Long Beach: Flying Lizard Motorsports preview

California-based Flying Lizard Back on West Coast for ALMS Round Three at Long Beach April 13, 2009 -- Sonoma, Calif. -- Flying Lizard Motorsports heads to Southern California this week for round three of the ALMS season: the Tequila Patron ...

California-based Flying Lizard Back on West Coast for ALMS Round Three at Long Beach

April 13, 2009 -- Sonoma, Calif. -- Flying Lizard Motorsports heads to Southern California this week for round three of the ALMS season: the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach race, which gets the green flag on Saturday, April 18 at 4:15 pm PT. Following the team's win at St. Petersburg last week (the No. 45 with Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long), Flying Lizard narrowly leads in the ALMS GT2 drivers and team championship points, four points ahead of Panoz Team PTG and its drivers Dominik Farnbacher and Ian James, in second place. Porsche is also leading in the manufacturers' championship.

The Flying Lizard driver lineup for Long Beach is Bergmeister and Long in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche and Seth Neiman and Darren Law in the No. 44. The team is looking for a repeat of their double podium last year here at the 1.968-mile, 11 turn temporary street course in Long Beach. Flying Lizard chief strategist Thomas Blam commented, "At just 1 hour and 40 minutes, Long Beach is our shortest race of the year and in some ways one of the most challenging. Like St. Pete, Long Beach is an unforgiving circuit: there is no run off, absolutely no room for error. The course is mostly concrete and is a mix of slow turns and fast straights which makes getting a good race setup here very tricky. Tire compound choice and setting up the car for optimal tire wear will also be key factors. It will very likely be a one-stop race (for fuel, tires and driver change); for some cars it may be possible to run the entire race on one set of tires which would be a significant advantage. And any caution periods will only add to the strategic puzzle of when to pit, and for what."

Eric Ingraham, team manager and strategist on the No. 44 Porsche, added "This is the third race of the season and the points spread is very narrow: three teams (Flying Lizard, Panoz Team PTG, and Risi Competizione) are within 10 points of one another. The GT2 field is proving to be extremely tough this year, and there will be seven different manufacturers in class at Long Beach, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. At Long Beach, the track is so varied that each type of car is going to perform well on different parts of the track. It will make for exciting racing, to be sure, and will certainly make it difficult for any one car to pull away from the pack early on. "

Flying Lizard chief engineer Craig Watkins compared Long Beach and St. Pete, "At first glance the two street courses appear similar, but they actually vary significantly in road surface, track layout and environment so our setup will be quite different. Long Beach is mostly concrete, which is more abrasive on tires than the asphalt of St. Pete. It's harder to get mechanical grip on concrete, so our camber settings will play an important role. And where St. Pete was a mix of medium and high speed turns, Long Beach combines some very slow turns with fast straights and arcing turns. It's critical to get the gearing right to accommodate both. And at Long Beach, we'll see less humidity and cooler temperatures than St. Pete which will definitely affect our compound choice. We know what the variables are, but we won't know for sure how it all fits together until we get on track on Thursday."

-credit: flm

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Craig Watkins , Ian James , Darren Law , Patrick Long , Seth Neiman , Dominik Farnbacher
Teams Flying Lizard Motorsports