Flying Lizard Porsche Fourth in 12 Hours of Sebring
Johannes van Overbeek, Jon Fogarty and Darren Law raced the Flying Lizard Motorsports Shoreline-Brocade Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to a fourth place Saturday in the 12 Hours of Sebring road race, America's most-prestigious sports car endurance race.
The trio covered 311 laps of the 3.7-mile Sebring International Raceway in Florida, finishing 9.4 seconds away from a podium finish, thanks to a spirited drive by Fogarty, the 2002 Toyota Atlantic series champion, who was racing at night for the first time in his career.
Van Overbeek took the lead in the GT class 33 minutes into the race, coming from a third place start in the class, and held the point until his first pit stop, 1hr 7min into the 52nd annual running of the event.
The team's only mechanical problems were a dead battery 90 at the minute mark, and an unexpected pit stop by Fogarty with 45 minutes remaining in the race to replace the front brake pads.
With new brakes, Fogarty was able to set the fastest lap of the race for his class, a 107.13mph effort.
"It was a bit disappointing," said van Overbeek, "considering we had the fastest car in the race, and set the fastest race lap. The problems we had should not have happened, but for our first ALMS race, we're pleased. We learned a great deal about what we don't know. That was one of the goals of the weekend."
"It was a lot of new experiences and eye-opening to a whole new world from what I've been used to - sprint racing," Fogarty said. "In this form of racing, everybody on the team has a big part in the team's success or failure.
"Strategy is involved, and there's a lot more wheel-to-wheel racing than what I'm used to. The car was really hooked-up, and it is always fun to drive with a well sorted-out team. I'd like to do it a lot more. Being surrounded by good people is what it all boils down to - they're genuine people, and that fits my personal demeanor. I love seeing teams get better - everybody learning together and creating the chemistry."
Added Law, "This is my first race of a long season with the Flying Lizard team, and I'm very impressed at what they've accomplished in a very short period of time. The team's performance here this week has showed a lot of people that we're going to be a force to be reckoned with this season."
The team's #44 Porsche 911 GT RS, raced by Lonnie Pechnik, Seth Neiman and Peter Cunningham, was retired 100 laps into the race after experiencing a broken constant-velocity joint - thus losing forward drive.
"Sebring does that to cars," said Pechnik. "The bumps here are legendary.
"It is really a shame," he added. "The work by the crews for both Flying Lizard Porsches this week has been terrific. I'd especially like to thank our car's crew chief, Paul Truess, plus Kenny Shreves, and the rest of the crew for all the hours they have worked on the car."