Flying Lizard is set to bolster the Audi R8 strength in the GT Daytona class next year. (Marshall Pruett photo)
With major changes on the horizon for sports car racing in North America, it’s only fitting to see one of its most popular teams go through a change of similar magnitude heading into 2014. After more than a decade of representing and winning with Porsche ” as a privateer and as a factory program ” in the American Le Mans Series, Northern California’s Flying Lizard Motorsports will leave the brand in favor of rival German brand Audi.
FLM will field a pair of V10-powered Audi R8s in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s GT Daytona class, and is set to unveil its cars during this weekend’s series test at Sebring.
Drivers have not been announced for the Seth Neiman-owned program, but many of the names that helped FLM to win the ALMS GTC Team’s title in 2013 are expected to return. One or more Audi factory drivers could also join the team for the endurance races on the schedule.
?We’re very much looking forward to starting the relationship with our new partner Audi Sport Customer Racing and to the years ahead working closely with them,? FLM team manager Eric Ingraham told RACER. ?We believe they have the most immediately competitive GTD car out there and we can’t wait to get going with the R8 LMS.
?Their prototype success and our GT experience should be a great combination going into this season. Our focus is on GTD through this transition to the TUDOR Championship, but we hope to be in on the ground floor with Audi should they ever desire to step further forward in the series in the future.?
FLM will work closely with the Audi of America-backed Audi Sport Customer Racing program, yet will also retain its status as a leading independent entrant.
?We are excited to welcome such a successful organization in Flying Lizard to our customer racing efforts,? said Audi of America president Scott Keogh. ?They share a great passion to compete on the track and have proven that they are a winning organization. We look forward to supporting them and our other teams in their race efforts.?
Between the experience held by FLM’s senior management and engineering team and the knowledge available from the Audi Sport Customer Racing group, an incredibly strong GTD program should emerge during the 11-race calendar next year.
?I’ve known some of the people from Flying Lizard for 20 years or more, and they are some of the best in the business,? Audi Sport Customer Racing boss Brad Kettler told RACER. ?I expect them to push us extremely hard; they’re a championship-winning team and know what it takes from all their partners and vendors to get to the top.
?We expect to support them and our other customers to the highest possible degree next season in the TUDOR Championship, and want nothing more than to see the Audi R8 repeat our victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona and to go get the GT Daytona title next season.?
With Flying Lizard now part of the Audi family, at least four full-time R8s could be seen in GTD along with part-time R8 entries at Daytona and other marquee TUDOR Championship events.