Flying Lizard Readies for ALMS Round Two in St. Petersburg April 1, 2008 -- Sonoma, Calif -- Coming on the heels of their one/two GT2 finish at Sebring, Flying Lizard heads back to Florida this week for ALMS round two: the Acura Sports Car ...
Flying Lizard Readies for ALMS Round Two in St. Petersburg
April 1, 2008 -- Sonoma, Calif -- Coming on the heels of their one/two GT2 finish at Sebring, Flying Lizard heads back to Florida this week for ALMS round two: the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg. The California-based team fields three 2008 911 GT3 RSR Porsches in GT2: the No. 44, No. 45, and No. 46. For St. Petersburg, the driver lineup will be: Seth Neiman and Darren Law in the No. 44; Joerg Bergmeister and Wolf Henzler in the No. 45; and Johannes van Overbeek and Patrick Pilet in the No. 46.
This is the second time that the series has raced at St. Pete: 2007 was the inaugural event. The 1.8 mile, 14-turn course is a temporary street circuit and the race length is 1 hour and 55 minutes. Lizard chief strategist Thomas Blam commented, "In such a short race there is no margin for error: a few seconds lost in the pits is nearly impossible to get back. We also have a compressed race week schedule with very little pre-race track time, which makes it tough to get to a race setup. Seth Neiman and Patrick Pilet have not driven here before so they'll be focused on learning the track quickly in the brief prep time that we have."
Lizard team manager and No. 46 strategist Eric Ingraham added, "St. Pete is our first street course this year. Street circuits are always challenging for our type of racing. Passing opportunities are limited and there's little leeway if you make a mistake."
Ingraham continued, "In some ways, having Sebring precede this race was helpful: like St. Pete, Sebring is bumpy and a tough course with many different kinds of turns. Having a short track and a short race does make some things easier and some of the reliability issues don't come into play here as they would with a longer race. It also makes some things much more difficult: with only one good passing opportunity on the front straight, starting position is critical."
The race length will also make fuel strategy a key issue for the GT2 teams. Blam explains, "With no yellow flags, St. Pete could be a one stop race: pit once for driver change and fuel. But add just one yellow flag and a one-stop race is no longer a given. You have to make tradeoffs: for example, whether to give up track position to be able to make a stop under yellow."
Blam continued, "GT2 Porsches have been competitive here in the past and in general, seem to do well on street courses. St. Pete is a 'point and shoot' track with many short corners, and Porsches can do well with fast acceleration off of a slow corner. With 10 races to go, it's still very early in the season. We had a strong start at Sebring but need to continue to stay focused at every step this week."
The Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg begins at 1:25 pm ET, Saturday April 5, 2008.