TOOELE, UT. – The penultimate round of the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) season has arrived, and this week the two Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 GT4 cars will compete at the Grand Prix of Utah in Tooele, Utah. Adam Merzon and Ryan Eversley will compete in the No. 23 Case-It Racing by Flying Lizard Motorsports car while series newcomers Michael Dinan and Robby Foley will stand in for Michael Hedlund in the No. 45 Audi R8 LMS.
“I am really looking forward to the Utah event as we have some new challenges, said Program Manager Darren Law. “Utah is unique with the altitude of the track and the multiple high-speed corners, I think this will be good for the Audi R8 GT4. Mike Hedlund cannot make this race which is unfortunate because he has had some really strong races this year with podium finishes but we are looking forward to having him back for the final round at Watkins Glen.
“I have watched Robby race in other series and he is fast. Michael is new to this series, he shows a lot of promise and giving him a chance in our car will hopefully bring them a great result.”
This weekend’s double header will be the final event in the SprintX Championship, an endurance-style format in which two drivers share the driving duties for the two 60 minute races. One driver will start the race, then be given a ten minute window in which he is required to pit the car for driver two to take over to race to the end.
Following this weekend’s SprintX Championship conclusion, the series will return to the 50 minute, one driver race format for the final event at Watkins Glen International.
Michael Dinan began his motorsports journey at Monticello Motor Club, and stepped into club racing earlier this year. After racing in the MX-5 Cup at Mid-Ohio SportsCar Course, Dinan will now join the ranks at Pirelli World Challenge, taking the next step in his professional career with Flying Lizard Motorsports for the Utah Grand Prix, alongside Robby Foley in the No. 45 Audi R8 LMS GT4.
IMSA GTD and Prototype Challenge LMP3 driver Robby Foley will join the Lizard ranks for his first Pirelli World Challenge GTS event. The 22 year old received his SCCA Pro Racing License at 16 years old, winning the 2013 Skip Barber Racing School MAZDASPEED Winter Series Rookie of the Year title, finishing third in the overall championship. In 2015, Foley won the Skip Barber Pro Challenge within the Battery Tender MX-5 Cup, and also received a $100,000 scholarship for his following season of racing. He added prototypes to his resume in 2017, earning two IMSA Prototype Challenge podiums in five races. Foley and Dinan will have two practice sessions in which to get familiar with the cars and up to speed on track before Saturday’s qualifying and race one.
The driving duo of Adam Merzon and Ryan Eversley will reunite for their final race of the season together, but Eversley will return to Watkins Glen International to coach Merzon for the season finale.
Utah Motorsport Campus opened as Miller Motorsports Park in 2006, and over the last twelve years has hosted a variety of racing from bicycles to go karts. This weekend, the Pirelli World Challenge will race the outer course; a 3.048 mile course with 14 turns.
Flying Lizard Motorsports has raced at Utah Motorsport Campus six times since 2006, winning in 2008 (J. Bergmeister/W.Henzler), 2009 (J.Bergmeister/P.Long), and 2017 (R. Baptista). In total, the team has clinched three wins, three pole positions, seven podiums, and nine top fives at the course.
The Engineering: From Team Engineer Jim Bell
The outer course of Utah Motorsport Campus is 14 turns, and roughly three miles long. It’s mostly mid speed to high speed corners, so our engineering concentration is going to be platform stability and agility. The car needs to be comfortable for the drivers, and have a quick transition to easily change direction. Braking will be important in a few areas.
Another factor will be the temperatures, with each day in the mid to high 90s. We’ll have to pay close attention to keeping the engine and the cockpit temperatures cool. The braking won’t be intense at this track, so we’ll be able to easily handle those temperatures. The altitude will hurt our power, but we’re confident we’ll be up to speed for some decent racing on Saturday and Sunday.
The first of two race days will be packed with GTS class qualifying first up on Saturday, August 11 at 9:10AM Mountain Time. Race one will take the green flag later in the afternoon at 1:10PM. Race two will begin on Sunday, August 12 at 11:00AM. Fans can stream the race feed live for free on the Pirelli World Challenge stream page or the PWC YouTube channel. Live timing and results for the event will be available on the TSL event page, and Flying Lizard Motorsports will offer live updates throughout the event on twitter. The highlights and recaps of both races will air on CBS Sports Network on Wednesday, August 22 at 9:00PM ET.
Michael Dinan | No. 45 Audi R8 LMS GT4 | GTSA Class
I’m really excited to be joining Flying Lizard Motorsports together with Robby for my Pirelli World Challenge debut. This all came about last minute, but I’m thankful to have the opportunity to fill in for the team. I’m looking forward to this new experience and to learning as much as possible in Utah.
Robby Foley | No. 45 Audi R8 LMS GT4 | GTSA Class
I’m really excited to be joining such a successful group at Flying Lizard. The team’s history and track record speaks for itself, so I’m looking forward to doing my best job for Michael and the whole team. I’m excited to be joining this growing championship among a lot of good drivers and teams, in cars that are a blast to drive. Given it’s our first PWC race of the year there are a lot of unknowns, but we’ll do our best to achieve a strong result, and most importantly get Michael valuable seat-time as he starts his young career.
Adam Merzon | No. 23 Audi R8 LMS GT4 | GTSA Class
The layout at UMC usually allows for the fields to spread out and that should give us some clean racing this weekend. The Flying Lizard crew has been working really hard on the Case-It Audi and since this is our last Sprint X race of the year, Ryan and I will be trying to make the most out of it.
Ryan Eversley | No. 23 Audi R8 LMS GT4 | GTSA Class
Utah will mark my last race of the season driving with Adam and the Lizards as we wrap up the Sprint X championship, so I’m hoping we can finish the year with a strong result. Utah’s layout should suit the Case-It R8 so I’m optimistic on our chances.
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.
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