LEXINGTON, OH. – Rounds 11 and 12 of the Pirelli World Challenge GTS championship proved to be difficult for Flying Lizard Motorsports. The two car team ran their Porsche Cayman Clubsport MRs at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the first time, showing improvements, yet still not netting the desired results.
The Porsche Cayman Clubsport MRs showed impressive lap times during the testing and practice session, but struggled in the afternoon qualifying session when track conditions changed. Digo Baptista qualified in 10th, and Nate Stacy in 14th. In an effort to gain an advantage during the race, Stacy opted to start the race on a fresh set of Pirelli tires, which moved him to start two spots back at the rear of the field, per Pirelli World Challenge rules.
The field started race one relatively clean, but trouble struck early for Digo Baptista and the No. 3 Porsche Cayman GT3 MR. As the field went three wide into turn three, Baptista was nudged off track, but quickly rejoined, resulting in contact bringing the first caution period of the race. Baptista, running seventh, pitted with damage to the left rear tire, requiring a quick tire change before rejoining. Race control promptly called him back to the pits in the following laps, opting to park the car for the race. Stacy, able to gain two positions in the opening turns of the race restarted in 14th with 30 minutes left in the 50 minute race. The field went back to green on lap 11, and Stacy charged to 11th position. Three laps later, the race went back to full course caution, setting Stacy up to restart from eighth with ten minutes to go. In the final laps, Stacy passed Jason Bell and Martin Barkey to take sixth position. He earned another top five finish in the pro class, finishing sixth overall, passing eleven cars in race one.
The duo’s fastest laps in race one set them up for Nate Stacy to start race two in eighth and Rodrigo at the back of the pack in 16th. At the wave of the green flag, Stacy jumped from eighth to six, and Baptista earned the best start of the race by gaining six positions in the opening lap. Baptista climbed another position to ninth only to begin to suffer a mechanical issue in the brakes. He pitted from tenth to undergo repairs, but ultimately retired early, finishing in 16th place. Stacy showed impressive racing in seventh, in a race long three car battle for sixth, seventh, and eighth position. He claimed sixth and created a gap when gremlins began to appear, bumping him down to eighth in the final ten minutes. He finished in eighth, earning his second top-ten finish of the weekend.
In two weeks, the series will return to the greater Salt Lake City area for the next rounds of the championship. Utah Motorsport Campus will host Rounds 13 and 14 of the GTS Championship, August 11 to 13. For schedule information, visit world-challenge.com.
Darren Law | Program Manager
The weekend as a whole was a little tough for us, and one of our harder weekends this year. Rodrigo was quick in the No. 3 car, but we had some mechanical issues that held us back this weekend. As far as the No. 14 car, the finishing position wasn’t our best of the season, it was one of Nate’s better weekends. He was up to speed and managed the car very well. We’re happy with his progress as a driver and we’re looking forward to the next event.
Nate Stacy | No. 14 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR
It was a good race weekend. We did some development work and improved the car. In working with Porsche and Flying Lizard, we’re making big strides and getting faster. We’re doing really well right now, but still going through some growing pains with the new cars. We’ll get there. With Darren Law, Terry Borcheller, and Jim Bell, working on it, I think we’ll be alright.
Rodrigo Baptistsa No. 3 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR
It was difficult to only run six laps this weekend, but the guys at Porsche and Flying Lizard did a great job getting the car ready and working through any difficulties that came up. We were running really well in race two despite the mechanical issue, so it would have been nice to keep working my way up. We’ll regroup for the next race.
About Flying Lizard Motorsports
Since its inception in 2004, Flying Lizard Motorsports has become an iconic team in the world of sports car racing. The California based team has celebrated seven driver and team championships, as well as competed internationally at the 24 Hours of Le Mans eight times. 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 with a 1-2 finish in 2016. For more information, visit lizardms.com. For additional photos and all behind-the-scenes updates, check us out on Facebook, twitter and Instagram.