Flying Lizard to Inaugurate New 2009 Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs at Sebring Winter Test January 19, 2009 -- Flying Lizard Motorsports, the 2008 American Le Mans Series GT2 team champions, will run their new 2009 Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs at the Sebring ...
Flying Lizard to Inaugurate New 2009 Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs at Sebring Winter Test
January 19, 2009 -- Flying Lizard Motorsports, the 2008 American Le Mans Series GT2 team champions, will run their new 2009 Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs at the Sebring Winter Test January 26-29 in Sebring, Florida. The annual three-day test is the first opportunity of the season for most ALMS teams to shake down their 2009 entries and get a head start on setup for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, to be held on March 21.
The Sonoma, California-based Lizard squad expects to receive their two new Porsches today from the Porsche factory in Weissach, Germany. Because there is only one week before the first test day, the Porsches are being flown to a partner shop in Atlanta, Georgia, where the Lizard crew will prepare them for their first track outing in the U.S. Photos and details of the new cars are available on our website under the "Car Prep Notebook" tab. The No. 44 and No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsches will be run in factory white at the test. Both cars will appear in their familiar red and silver livery for the Sebring race in March.
The Sebring Winter Test will reunite ALMS 2008 driver's champion Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) -- the duo won back to back ALMS GT2 championships in 2005/2006 -- who will team in the Flying Lizard No. 45 Porsche for the 2009 season. No. 44 pilots Seth Neiman (USA), Darren Law (USA), and Johannes van Overbeek (USA) will all attend the test.
Flying Lizard Chief Engineer Craig Watkins commented on the team's prep for the test, "We're anxious to get the new cars and start work. 2009 is our sixth consecutive year running Porsches. There are definitely advantages to being able to leverage the work we've done over the past seasons and we've put together a solid development program that we'll start implementing this week. Of course, you never know how a new car will perform until you actually get it on track when you can see how the improvements that have been made play out with the components that you're working with."
The Lizard crew has been working in the off season on preparing for GT2 changes this year. Watkins continued, "Porsche has made some important changes to the cars. Aerodynamically, there is much more downforce in the front, which should help to resolve the understeer which dogged us in 2008. Also, to meet the stricter 2009 regulations on maximum car cockpit temperature, the car has been redesigned to support an air conditioning system. Other regulation changes require that the Porsches run 20 kilograms heavier than 2008, and we have a minimum 15 mm gurney (wicker) requirement and a 5 mm higher ride height than 08. Just a few new variables can combine to make a significantly different car experience, so this three-day test will be critical in helping us start to realize the potential of the 2009 Porsche."
Team manager Eric Ingraham added, "We've had a four-month break from racing and we're looking forward to getting back on track. In addition to the car development goals, we'll use the three days at Sebring to get reorganized around two cars after 2008's three car program. This is Patrick Long's first full season with us, but he has driven with us before and he and Joerg work extremely well together so I expect he'll get acclimated quickly. In the No. 44, Johannes, Darren, and Seth have worked together for five years now and know each others' driving styles very well. The first day on track will be the first time that any of the drivers have been in the 2009 Porsches. They all will need to familiarize themselves with the cars - there have been some cockpit changes and of course the aero changes may require very different setup processes than last year. We hope it will be a busy and productive week."
Fourteen ALMS teams are currently scheduled to attend the test; ten of those are GT2 teams. Chief strategist Thomas Blam added, "One of the benefits of the test is getting a chance to see the guys you will race against during the year. This will be our first time seeing the new BMW from Rahal Letterman Racing. Also, the Corvette entry is back in GT2: they were very quick at Petit Le Mans in 2008, so we'll see what they have this year. In terms of Porsches, at Farnbacher Loles Racing Wolf Henzler and Dirk Werner will certainly be formidable competition. At this time, no Ferraris are yet entered for the test, so it's a bit difficult to judge yet what improvements they've made this year."