Flying Lizard Debuts its No. 80 Porsche at Test Day for the 24 Heures du Mans June 5, 2005--Le Mans, France - - Flying Lizard Motorsports debuted the team's No. 80 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR at today's test day for the upcoming 24 Heures du Mans. The...
Flying Lizard Debuts its No. 80 Porsche at Test Day for the 24 Heures du Mans
June 5, 2005--Le Mans, France - - Flying Lizard Motorsports debuted the team's No. 80 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR at today's test day for the upcoming 24 Heures du Mans. The team was happy and excited after their first full day running at Le Mans. It's the first time for all three drivers (Johannes van Overbeek, Lonnie Pechnik, and Seth Neiman) on the circuit and the inaugural run for the No. 80 Porsche.
The test day is the only opportunity for the teams to test in advance of the practices during race week. For the Lizards, the objectives for test day were to learn the track, meet the 10-lap requirement for each driver, and learn about the new car.
In the morning, the weather was calm and clear. van Overbeek was first out, "I spent the first part of my stint just trying to learn my way around the track. Over the next 35 minutes, I focused on shaking down the car: making sure there were no leaks or other problems. Once I knew my way around, I tried to push the car hard enough to be able to give the engineers feedback."
Because the team's goal in the morning session was to get comfortable with the track, they weren't focused specifically on lap times. However, van Overbeek clocked the fifth fastest time in both sessions out of 14 GT2 entrants. "I was pleasantly surprised. It speaks volumes about the team's preparation in dealing with the different regulations and procedures here. So far, things have gone well. With the new Porsche, at first I felt a kid at Christmas with a new toy: it took me a while to figure out where to put the batteries. The Porsche performed very well, it was responsive to changes and we are making some great headway with setup."
After his morning stint, Pechnik added that Le Mans is "... very cool. It's amazing just to be here. It was challenging though to learn the course. At the start, the course was fairly dirty and there was a lot of traffic. It seems like many of the drivers are new to Le Mans like we are. It will take a while for everyone to get things sorted out I think."
Teammate Neiman said after his afternoon stint, "Overall, things have gone very well for our first visit to Le Mans. The awe of being here is quickly put away once you get out on the track and the fun starts to take over. The team's done a great job building our home away from home and the drivers are starting to get acclimated."
In late afternoon, the weather rapidly grew cooler and it began to rain lightly around 6 pm. The Lizards brought the car in to wait for the weather to settle. "The track is so long that the weather conditions can change significantly from one end to the other; raining hard in one area but still dry in others," said car chief Paul Truess. "In mixed conditions like that, it's very hard to learn much -- you can't get out your rain tires yet, but the slicks are too slippery in the wet areas."
Around 6:40 pm, with the rain letting up and the car still on slicks, the No. 80 returned to the track with van Overbeek at the wheel. Within his first few laps, he set the team's fastest lap time of the day (4:08.406).
The team will spend the next few days finalizing car setup and preparing for the week of the 24 Heures du Mans, which begins at 4 pm CEST on June 18 and finishes at 4 pm CEST on June 19.