After a month break in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS calendar, Flying Lizard Motorsports returns to VIRginia International Raceway this weekend for rounds three and four of the SprintX championship with Mike Hedlund, Adam Merzon, and Ryan Eversley in the pair of Audi R8 LMS GT4 cars. In preparation for the event, the team has completed three days of testing at this particular track, in both dry and wet conditions, confident with the progress made entering into the next rounds of the championship.
This weekend’s doubleheader hosts rounds three and four of the ten SprintX races. The traditional 50 minute, one driver format is replaced with a 60 minute race to be completed by two drivers, with special exceptions for bronze-rated drivers. A pit stop is mandatory, but no tire changes are allowed for the GTS class. Driver #1 will qualify Saturday morning and start that afternoon’s race. Driver #2 will finish the race, and start the Sunday’s race event based on the car’s fastest lap in race one. The GTS championship has two main classes: the GTS Pro-Am, and GTS-Am.
The Pit Stops
All pit stops in the SprintX championship have a required minimum time of 75 seconds, starting at the pit in beacon line and ending at the pit out beacon. It will take roughly 30 seconds to make it down pit road at Circuit of the Americas, giving teams roughly 45 seconds to complete driver changes.
Bronze-rated Mike Hedlund (GTS-AM) will continue the SprintX Championship as the only driver in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS. Last month, Hedlund was taken out of contention at the start of race one when contact from another car pushed him into the concrete wall on the front straight. Hedlund rebounded in race two, starting from the back of the pack to finish third in class. He now sits second in the GTSA Sprint point standings, and is tied for tenth in the GTSA SprintX standings.
Full time driver Adam Merzon will again be joined by SprintX addition Ryan Eversley in the No. 23 Case-It Racing by Flying Lizard Motorsports (GTS Pro-AM). The duo earned an eighth place finish in race two at Circuit of the Americas, the second top-ten finish so far this season for the No. 23 Audi R8 LMS. Merzon and Eversley are tied for eleventh in the SprintX standings.
Nestled in Alton, Virginia, VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) is a 3.27-mile, 17-turn paved road course. Sixty-one years after its opening, VIR continues to be a favorite among sports car fans, boasting beautiful elevation changes and vantage points. The asphalt track has two front straights, with a combined total distance of approximately 7,000 feet. Despite having successes at almost every track across North America, VIRginia International Raceway remains to be one of the few tracks at which Flying Lizard Motorsports has yet to celebrate a win. The team’s best finish to date at VIR is second place, earned by Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long in 2012.
The track itself is another technical challenge for engineers, cars, and drivers. From an engineering standpoint, the machines will need to have a stiffer setup to maintain a good platform, but not so stiff to compromise the tires compliance and grip. Both car and driver will need to be able to handle mid to high speed technical turns and quick transitions. Running with the best damper setting will also be a critical key to success, due to the amount of curb use and required platform recovery.
Mike Hedlund | No. 45 Audi R8 LMS GT4
After a successful test at Virginia International Raceway earlier this season, I’m excited to return for the race weekend. It’s one of the best drivers’ tracks in the world and after we mix together 35+ GT4 cars, I’m sure it’ll be a great show for the fans. I have points to make up after being taken out in race one at our last round in Austin, so we’ll be in full attack mode all weekend!
Adam Merzon | No. 23 Audi R8 LMS GT4
VIR has traditionally been a good track for both Ryan and I. Last year I was able to win both of the Sprint X GTS races in the Case-it car, and now that Ryan and I have gotten our first Sprint-X race under our belts, I think we’re going to be a strong contender.
Ryan Eversley | No. 23 Audi R8 LMS GT4 | SprintX Addition
I really enjoy racing at VIR! Its the closest track to my home on the schedule so we usually have a lot of friends and family attend. I won my first pro race at VIR and I think it’s one of the best race tracks on the Pirelli World Challenge schedule. When you combine Adam’s pace and my experience at this track with our top notch crew at Flying Lizard, I think we’ll be in the fight for podiums in the Case-it Machine.
Source. Flying Lizard Motorsports