This weekend, Flying Lizard Motorsports returns to Thunderhill Raceway to defend its back to back wins at the National Auto Sport Association’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill, currently the longest endurance race in North America. The 2015 and 2016 race winners equipped the Audi R8 LMS and Porsche Cayman Clubsport GT4 with stacked lineups, hoping to again secure the overall victory.
Program Manager Darren Law will again grace the driver seat, accompanied by 2017 Pirelli World Challenge GTS driver Nate Stacy. Crew chief Charlie Hayes raced the team’s Porsche in last year’s 25 Hour, but will move over to the Audi R8 LMS effort. Tom Haacker joins Flying Lizard for the first time, after competing against the team for the last two years.
Johannes van Overbeek and Mike Hedlund will return to the Flying Lizard/Toyo Tires Thunderhill effort, both switching from the Audi R8 LMS to the No. 74 Porsche Cayman Clubsport GT4. Engineering legend and driver in his own right, Craig Watkins, who retired from the team in 2012, will get behind the wheel for his third attempt at Thunderhill. After spending the 2017 Pirelli Porsche GT3 Thorphy USA season as a driver coach with the team, Ross Thompson will fill the final slot in the Porsche Cayman Clubsport GT4.
Barring technical difficulties, the Flying Lizard Motorsports radio transmissions will broadcast live on the team’s YouTube page, which will also host a live chat, allowing fans worldwide to get exclusive access and interaction with team for all 25 Hours of the event. Subscribe to the team’s YouTube page to be notified when the broadcasts go live.
Hometown: Chandler, Arizona
Thunderhill History: Two attempts; won both (2015, 2016)
Quote: “This event is a great way to close out our season. It is a long, hard race just as any 25 hour would be, but it’s a more relaxed event. Not that we don’t take it any less seriously; we are the defending overall champions two years in a row and I would love to bring home one more win. Driving our Flying Lizard Audi R8 GT3 car is really enjoyable. The setup we bring to this event combined with the Toyo Tires we’ve been developing are great at this track. I am really looking forward to getting back in the drivers seat again, and we have a great group of drivers this year. Borla Exhaust has also contributed to the effort with a performance exhaust system for the Audi R8 LMS, and we’re proud to have them on board again.”
Hometown: Santa Ana, California
Thunderhill History: Four attempts; Second overall (2011, 2014), First in class (2014)
Quote: “I’ve considered this opportunity to run with the Flying Lizards to be an honor. They have a deep, rich history in motorsports with a list of incredibly accomplished pilots and victories. I have run against the Flying Lizards/Toyo Tires Audi R8 in past 25 Hours. The car and team have always been considered a favorite. I’ve had the car pass me countless times during the event. This will be an ‘if you can’t beat em, join em’ for me. I’m truly honored.”
Hometown: Owasso, Oklahoma
Thunderhill History: One attempt; Ninth place finish (2013)
Quote: “I’m super excited to be piloting the Toyo Tires Flying Lizard Motorsports blue liveried Audi R8 this year at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill! After the good season with the Porsche Cayman seemed only natural to keep working with one of the best teams in the world. I’m hoping to help them bring back yet another trophy for their collection.
Hometown: Walnut Creek, California
Thunderhill History: Two attempts; Finished third overall in 2016
“I’m excited to join the team as a driver for the second time. It’s nice to be inside of the car rather than under it, although last year required a bit of both. Nothing beats getting to drive a GT3 car with the boss in an endurance race. I know first hand that we have the best chance with our car and crew. We just need to stay out of trouble and cross the finish line on Sunday.”
Hometown: San Fransisco, California
Thunderhill History: Holds record for most overall wins (2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016)
Quote: “I know the end of the racing year is over when the 25 Hour comes around. It’s a fantastic race with a unique mix of cars, teams, and drivers. NASA does a great job of tapping into the heart of grassroots racing. I’m glad to be back with Flying Lizard in a Toyo Tires shod car for this twice around the clock, plus one hour, event. It will be tough winning the race overall for a 6th time in a GT4 car but we will be peddling as hard as we can for the entire 25 Hours.”
Hometown: Redwood City, California
Thunderhill History: Three attempts; Won overall in 2016
Quote: “It’s an honor to be back with my friends at Flying Lizard for the 2017 25 Hours of Thunderhill and to help introduce the world to the new Toyo Tires GT Challenge class! With our experienced driver lineup, top level crew, Toyo Proxes RR tires and a little luck, I fully expect us to be battling the faster classes by the end of the race. This will be my third 24+ hour race this year after competing at Daytona in a Porsche 911 GT3R and Le Mans in a Porsche 911 RSR and it’s a perfect way to bookend 2017!”
Hometown: Santa Rosa, California
Thunderhill History: Won the first NASA endurance event at Thunderhill; Finished second overall in 2003 with Tommy Sadler, Johannes van Overbeek, and Lonnie Pechnik.
Quote: “Fifteen years ago when Seth Neiman first took Johannes, Tommy Sadler and I out to dinner to tell us he wanted to start a racing team with us, and call it Flying Lizard Motorsports, I had my doubts. But true to his word, he hired us and I spent the next decade as their chief engineer. Now returning as a driver for an endurance race, I’ll see the team in a way I never have before. Now I need to make a contribution as a driver instead an engineer.”
Hometown: San Diego, California
Thunderhill History: Four attempts; no luck.
Quote: “I’m thrilled and honored to be a part Flying Lizard’s Toyo Tires Porsche Cayman GT4 for this year’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill. I’m looking forward to sharing the car with my teammates, as Darren Law has put together a stellar driver line up. Working with the Lizards over the last few seasons, I know our Toyo Tires Porsche Cayman GT4 will be prepared for a great result for this year’s race.”
Source. Flying Lizard Motorsports