WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – The Pirelli World Challenge 2018 drew to a close Sunday morning, and Flying Lizard Motorsports closed the season on a high note, clinching the GTSA class win in race two at Watkins Glen International. Mike Hedlund drove his No. 45 Audi R8 LMS GT4 to victory in the final race of the season, finishing fourth in the sprint championship points, narrowly missing out on a double podium weekend.
“As with any race season, there are lots of challenges and this season definitely had some but we also had some great results and it was nice finish the season with a class win,” said Program Manager Darren Law. “Mike Hedlund drove great this weekend and as always, the Flying Lizard Motorsports crew performed perfectly.”
Hedlund started the event strong, driving near the top of the GTS charts not only in his AM class, but overall. In Saturday morning’s qualifying session, Hedlund qualified in second, 0.29 seconds off provisional pole position. Throughout race one, Hedlund held his own during the first race, slipping to third on the race start, and defending his position from his professional and amateur competitors. His flawless run continued throughout the fifty minute race, but attrition struck in the final laps. With three minutes to go, a punctured tire ruined the podium run for the Audi R8 LMS GT4, forcing Mike to pit for a replacement. He finished seventh in the GTSA class, behind Adam Merzon, driver of the No. 23 Case-It Racing by Flying Lizard Motorsports. Merzon started the race in tenth in the GTSA class, but struggled with top line speed throughout the event. He kept the No. 23 Audi clear of contact from other cars and finished the race in twelfth position.
While a personal matter kept Merzon from competing in the second and final race of the year, Hedlund started race two in second place, next to the No. 99 of Jeff Courtney. Hedlund took the GTSA lead at the start and never looked back. Starting eighth overall, Hedlund settled into seventh position, putting heavy pressure on the No. 14 of James Sofronas in the GTS class. With little pressure behind Hedlund stayed within 0.2 seconds of Sofronas until a full course caution halted the race and brought the field back together. The No. 45 Audi got a strong restart, extending his lead to 2.2 seconds to the checker flag, earning his first win and sixth podium of the year.
Sunday’s win marked Flying Lizard’s first win at Watkins Glen International, and 34th win to date, closing out the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge race season on the top step. The team is working diligently on 2019’s championship efforts to be announced at a later date.
About Flying Lizard Motorsports
Based out of Sonoma, California, Flying Lizard Motorsports is one of the most iconic sports car teams in motorsports, having celebrated six driver and team championships, as well as competed internationally at the 24 Hours of Le Mans eight times. The team currently races in Pirelli World Challenge, Porsche Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA, and Porsche Club of America.
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 in 2016 and 2017. For more information, visit lizardms.com. Flying Lizard Motorsports has proven to be a championship contender no matter the race series or race car.