Flying Lizard Motorsports has been very busy in the short offseason following its 2013 American Le Mans Series GTC-class team championship, moving to a new partnership with Audi Sport customer racing to run two 2014 Audi R8 LMS race cars, the No. 35 and No. 45, in the GT Daytona class in the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Building from the team’s first experiences with its new cars at the series-wide tests at Sebring and Daytona in November, the team has worked hard to put together a strong program for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the first race of the 2014 season, which will take place at the end of January.
For the race, the No. 35 PR Newswire / eSilicon R8 LMS will be driven by Seth Neiman (USA), Dion von Moltke (South Africa), Filipe Albuquerque (Portugal), and Alessandro Latif (UK/Italy). Seth and Dion partnered during the 2013 ALMS season, which included a GTC-class win for their car at the Grand Prix of Baltimore. Filipe, a Flying Lizard / Audi Sport factory driver, raced with Dion in two races in 2013, including taking the class win at the 2013 edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, which Filipe and Dion return to as defending race winners. Alessandro is an upcoming 17-year old driver who has raced internationally in endurance sportscar racing including victories at Mugello, Hungaroring, and Paul Ricard in his first season. He also recently participated in the Audi Sport DTM young driver test in Spain.
Nelson Canache Jr. (Venezuela) and Spencer Pumpelly (USA) return to the familiar Venezuela / eSilicon No. 45 that they campaigned for the 2013 ALMS season, which included three poles, three race wins and 2nd place in the 2013 GTC-class driver championship. Nelson and Spencer will be joined by Flying Lizard / Audi Sport customer racing driver Markus Winkelhock (Germany) and Tim Pappas (USA) for the Daytona race. Markus returns for his 2nd straight Rolex 24 at Daytona and won the FIA GT1 World Championship in 2012. Tim raced in the ALMS GTC class’s first two years of competition in 2010 and 2011, winning 4 races plus the driver championship in each season, and is now running in Pirelli World Challenge.
Thomas Blam, the team’s Chief Strategist and engineer on the No. 45, spoke about the driver lineups, adding “It’s great to go into a big race with such strong driver lineups in each car, and both cars have the talent behind the wheel to help us compete for the class win. We’ve carried over both of our driver pairings from the 2013 season, and the consistency which Seth, Dion, Nelson, and Spencer bring will be a huge help as we start to race this new car. Filipe and Markus are Audi Sport factory drivers and bring a wealth of experience in the R8 LMS, as well as specific experience with the car at last year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona race. Alessandro brings immense talent that we all will be watching, and Tim, a long time friend of the team, brings two GTC championships and significant race experience at Daytona as well. I can’t wait to get started and especially to go racing in a few more weeks.”
The team and drivers will converge on Daytona Beach for the first test of the new year, the Roar Before the Rolex 24, which starts tomorrow and will include 13 hours of testing over three days, from January 3rd to 5th. Fans can follow live timing and scoring at the IMSA website, www.imsa.com. In addition, Flying Lizard’s Audi R8 LMS race cars will be seen for the first time in their new livery, which has been adapted and evolved from the team’s traditional silver and red paint scheme to fit the Audi R8’s curves.
(Flying Lizard Motorsports)