STREET TALK FROM LIZARDS' ERIC INGRAHAM Before the start of the 2008 American Le Mans Series season, Eric Ingraham would have been hard-pressed to think of a better opening two races for Flying Lizard Motorsports. The team manager is overseeing...
STREET TALK FROM LIZARDS' ERIC INGRAHAM
Before the start of the 2008 American Le Mans Series season, Eric Ingraham would have been hard-pressed to think of a better opening two races for Flying Lizard Motorsports. The team manager is overseeing the team's three Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs which have performed extremely well through two races with a victory and runner-up finish at Sebring, another runner-up in St. Petersburg and the lead in the GT2 championship standings. Can that carry over to Long Beach and the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach? Ingraham says he sees no reason why not, especially given the team's history on street circuits.
Question: Each of the three Lizard Porsches have finished on the podium at least once. Is this the kind of consistency that wins championships or at least puts you in the position to do so?
Answer: I think that the latter is absolutely correct. Putting a car on the podium at every race is the absolute minimum we can do to try to win a championship. And putting multiple cars on the podium and pushing other cars down in the field and in the points is something that we need to do to try to win a championship. We've actually struggled a bit on consistency so far this year by car, but as a team we are starting off on the right foot. But it is very early in the season and we need to finish consistently well and also win some races in order to have a chance at the championship.
Q: What's the biggest change in strategy going from a natural road course like Sebring to a street circuit like Long Beach?
A: In terms of strategy, the type of circuit doesn't play a huge role necessarily, with the exception of two things: The relative difficulty of passing and the length of the lap, especially in regards to pit strategy. With regards to passing, it's critical to decide on changing tires and what it will cost in terms of track position and whether or not you can make up positions if you spend time in the pits. With regards to the length of the lap, you can go a lap down at a short track with one green flag pit stop, so stopping under yellow makes a lot more sense. Otherwise, the big difference between Sebring vs. St. Pete and Long Beach is that your pit stop decision at St. Pete and Long Beach is a very singular one, and sets you up to make it to the end of the race whereas at Sebring, you have more flexibility and are thinking more about the value of stopping during each yellow. In other words, the short races require more binary thinking while the long races require more analog thinking.
Q: The team has placed at least one car in he top two at every street race since Houston in 2006. Why the success? Does it come back to consistency?
A: Good question. I wish I knew the answer to that one, and I really wish we had the magic bullet for street races. I think that success at a street race typically comes with adaptability from the engineers, quick learning by the drivers, running consistently during the race with minimized risk and good strategy decisions and pit work. I think we do a fairly good job at all of those things, but I would have to give the nod to our engineers on being a huge asset to our good results at street races.
The Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach, Round 3 of the 2008 season, is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 19 from the famed Long Beach street circuit. ABC will broadcast the race from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 20. XM Satellite Radio will provide coverage on Channel 144 from 7 to 9 p.m. ET Saturday, April 19. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage of the race at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA's Live Timing & Scoring.