Lizards Celebrate Double Podium Weekend in Utah
After a seven year hiatus from competition at Utah Motorsport Campus, Flying Lizard Motorsports returned in victory earning a win and a third place finish in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS double header event. Rodrigo Baptista and the No. 3 Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR dominated race one to take his third win of the season, and Nate Stacy brought his No. 14 Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR to the podium with a third place finish.
Rodrigo "Digo" Baptista set the provisional pole early in the GTS qualifying session, parking his car to preserve his tires for the afternoon's race. Nate Stacy and his Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR showed a strong run, also setting a fast lap early to sit fourth.
Baptista led the field to green, keeping the lead and creating a gap over the field, while Stacy had an impressive charge from fourth to second before the first turn. Jeff Courtney's Maserati soon closed in, but Stacy put up a strong fight to keep the position. He eventually conceded, opting to save his tires for a final push near the end of the race. The team would later discover that the No. 14 Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR had a slow leak in the right rear tire, affecting the handling of the car, as Stacy moved to fifth position. At the front of the field, Baptista and the No. 3 Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR continued to lead, with Martin Barkey rapidly closing in from behind. With 30 minutes remaining, Barkey came within 0.5 seconds of Baptista, just as a full course caution came out. The field went back to green with 27 minutes left, and Baptista continued to pull away and defend his position. Stacy fought to defend eighth position from Lawson Aschenbach, and climbed another spot to seventh as the next full course caution came out. With just eight minutes left, Baptista led the field back to green and stayed out front to the checkered flag, earning his third win of the 2017 season. Stacy and the No. 14 car finished six in the pro class.
Baptista and Stacy started race two at Utah Motorsports Campus in fourth and sixth, respectively. Although both cars launched their standing starts well, but Baptista slipped to fifth as the field entered turn one, with Stacy on his rear in sixth. Race two underwent an early full course caution, providing both Flying Lizard Porsches a chance to regain lost ground. Nate Stacy climbed to fourth to engage in a five way battle as Baptista slipped to seventh. By lap seven, Stacy advanced another position to third, and raced forward to get within 0.5 seconds of the second place car. With 23 minutes remaining on the race clock, the two leading cars pulled away from the pack, and Stacy sat in fourth, less than a second within the third place car. Baptista stayed close to the pack in sixth, inching his way back up to race behind Stacy. Baptista began to get heavy pressure from behind from Courtney, and the two had contact with less than 15 minutes remaining. Both cars went spinning, and Baptista landed in the gravel trap. The field went full course caution as Baptista received a tow to pit lane, and rejoined at the rear of the field after a safety check, but eventually returned the car to sit out the remaining few minutes. Stacy restarted in fourth, putting up an impressive battle with George Kurtz over third place. Contact behind Stacy relieved him of any pressure, allowing him to focus on a final lap push. As the white flag flew, the team radioed to Stacy with orders to make the final lap count. The young American set up to have a strong run out of the final turn and passed Kurtz at the finish line, earning his third podium finish of the season.
Only two events remain in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS Championship for the 2017 season, with the next stop taking place September 1-3 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. For schedule and ticket information, visit world-challenge.com.
Rodrigo Baptista | No. 3 Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR It was a really good race one for us. The car was almost perfect in both races, but it just didn't come together for the second race. We had a great car out there, and it felt good to celebrate another win. Again, thanks to Porsche, HTPro, Mobil 1, and the Flying Lizards for all their hard work.
Nate Stacy | No. 14 Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR That was an awesome race. We had a great feel for the car and we worked through some adversity to get the podium.
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.