Controlling emotion: Busy week in Sebring

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What does Dion von Moltke do to prepare for another long endurance race in Sebring?

Over a month of work, almost a full week at the track, and then 12 Hours of intense action on track can all take a toll on a driver. When it’s most important to bring your absolute best for those final three hours of the race, how you get through the week leading up to the race is vital. This will be my fourth Sebring 12 Hour and although a lot is different this year, the on track action will be similar.

Usually leading into the Sebring 12 Hour we are on track five days before we even get to the race, which makes it very easy for drivers and teams to get burnt out before the race event started. This year we only have two days of on track action before the race, which really puts the pressure on all of us to get the most out of every minute on track. In our #35 Flying Lizard Motorsport we have an unchanged team from Daytona. I will be driving with Seth Neiman, Alessandro Latif, and Filipe Albuqurque. The balance between getting all the drivers track time before the race and setting the car up will be important.

Dion von Moltke
Dion von Moltke

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

I know that as a driver I need to be able to get up to speed and work through our testing program as fast as possible so over the past two weeks I have been doing a lot of training physically and mentally to try and be completely ready to go from lap one of the weekend.

I will arrive Wednesday to the track where we will have our team driver change practices. We recently changed to a bigger seat in our car, so as drivers we need to get the belts and radio plug all in the right place to make these as quick as possible. Directly after that I already start media duties, as the excitement around this 12 Hours of Sebring is as high as I have ever seen it.

This will be the first time I have done battle in Sebring in an Audi R8 and I have been very impressed with how this car handles around this challenging 17-turn circuit. The past three years I have driven a Porsche GT3 Cup around here, and I was surprised how different each of these cars is around here. Sebring is very well known for its bumpy track surface, especially in the high-speed turns 1 and 17. In the Porsche GT3 cup car you really get thrown around over the bumps, while with the setup Flying Lizard Motorsport had on our Audi R8 LMS at the Sebring test days the car handled the bumps a lot better. The Porsche has been historically very fast straight line but going into Sebring in a new class with a new balance of performance there are a lot of unknowns.

#35 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS: Seth Neiman, Dion von Moltke, Alessandro Latif, Filipe Albuquerque
#35 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS: Seth Neiman, Dion von Moltke, Alessandro Latif, Filipe Albuquerque

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

At Daytona we got a glimpse at how the cars will stack up against one another not only in GTD but also how traffic worked from class to class. I believe traffic will be one of the most important parts in the Sebring 12 Hour. The last three hours are in the complete dark, and unlike Daytona, Sebring gets very dark. As a driver this makes working through traffic very difficult, especially in the GTD class. In GTD you have to look in your mirrors quite often and at night all you can see is lights. The series has given yellow headlights to any GT car and white headlights to any prototype car, but in all honesty most times I still have difficulty trying to see what is coming up behind me. The Ferrari headlights are very white and look quite a lot like a prototype and it is very difficult to tell the difference between a GT-LM car or GTD car behind you without help from the team.

A lap around Sebring is already one of the more challenging circuits out there, but driving it at night in heavy traffic it is very mentally demanding. I will have Eric Ingraham, our team manager and #35 car race strategist, on the radio with us trying to help us with traffic. He tries to call out traffic coming up on us, at night his job will be as important as ever. Between him telling us that there is five cars behind us, letting us know that one of them is an LMPC car, one will be a Prototype, two are GTLM cars and that other car is the car we are battling with for position, looking in your mirrors to try and figure out who is who and then hitting your braking marker, getting down to the apex, and getting a good exit this race will be a great challenge.

When taking up this great of a challenge it is very important to have a strong team behind you and I know Seth, Alessandro, Filipe and I enter the race with full confidence in our Flying Lizard Motorsport team. It is going to be a special year with the first every Sebring 12 Hours under the Tudor United Sports Car banner. I know the energy in the paddock is extremely high and I hope all the fans are as excited as I am. I hope to see all of you there when the green flag flies at 10:15am est. and when the checked flag falls 12 hours later at 10:15pm est.

Dion von Moltke

Dion von Moltke's official website

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About this article
Series TUSC
Article type Blog
Tags busy week, cat puke, dion von moltke, emotion, flying lizard motorsports, sebring 12 hour

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