VIRginia International Raceway Results in Disappointment for Flying Lizards
Flying Lizard Motorsports had a bittersweet race weekend at VIRginia International Raceway for Rounds three and four of the Pirelli World Challenge GTS Championship. Despite gaining speed all weekend and earning another top five finish to go towards the championship, the weekend ended on a disappointing note when both Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MRs finished the race in the garage.
Rodrigo Baptista qualified third for race one, and Nate Stacy ninth. Baptista claimed second in the early corners, but traffic shuffled him back to fourth by turn 5. As the leaders pulled away from the field, the Lizard pair each gained a spot to run third and eighth, respectively. As the race wore on, Baptista kept his speed, but the cars chasing him were able to catch up. In the final ten minutes, Baptista was shuffled to fifth, continuing to earn valuable points towards the championship. Stacy finished tenth, determined to find speed post-race to carry to race two.
Race two showed promise as soon as the field launched off their lines for the standing start. Both Baptista and Stacy gained ground heading into turn one, ready to work though the field. In the opening lap, Stacy climbed two positions from 12th to run 10th and enter the fight for ninth place. Showing strong improvement throughout the weekend, he settled in, and quickly grabbed eighth place. While battling for position, Stacy and another car had contact in turn one, resulting in an early retirement for the No. 14 Porsche. Baptista gained a position on the opening lap from seventh to sixth, and as the leaders pulled away from the field, he took fifth position from the No. 2 SIN R1 GT4. His momentum continued, and his Porsche quickly reeled in the No. 50 Panoz Avezzano G to take fourth place, charging forward with his eyes on third. Trouble appeared with 30 minutes to go when Baptista lost drive in the car. He received a tow back to the paddock and the No. 3 retired early in the garage.
While the weekend ended with two retirements, the Program Manager Darren Law remarked at the improvement shown throughout the event.
"It's unfortunate that we did not get to finish out the race today with either car," said Law. "With solid runs for the first race we made several changes in setup overnight and the cars were fast today. Right from the start the Porsche launch control helped our drivers gain positions. We have all been around a long time and understand that some weekends just do not work out. The Flying Lizard team is a solid program and I have all the confidence that we will be right back in the fight for the next round in Canada."
Rounds five and six of the Pirelli World Challenge GTS Championship will take place at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park May 19-21.
About Flying Lizard Motorsports
Since its inception in 2004, Flying Lizard Motorsports has become an iconic team in the world of sports car racing. The California based team has celebrated seven driver and team championships, as well as competed internationally at the 24 Hours of Le Mans eight times. The Lizards burst on the American Le Mans Series scene in 2004, competing in the GT class until 2012. In 2013, the team moved to the GTC class, still competing in legendary events such as the 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Daytona. In 2014, the team expanded its program to include running two Audi R8 LMS in the TUDOR Championship, and in 2015, again expanded the program to include two Porsches in Porsche Club racing. Flying Lizard closed out the season with a dominating win at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill with Toyo Tires, a win they repeated with a 1-2 finish in 2016. For more information, visit lizardms.com. For additional photos and all behind-the-scenes updates, check us out on Facebook, twitter and Instagram.