BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – Flying Lizard Motorsports showed another strong performance this weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in rounds five and six of the Pirelli World Challenge GTS championship. Despite showing continued speed, the team narrowly missed out on two podiums, but pressed on to earn three top ten finishes.
For race one, Rodrigo “Digo” Baptista qualified fifth in the 20 car field, with teammate Nate Stacy setting a lap time to sit ninth. A penalty carried over from the previous round at VIRginia International Raceway, moving him down to start 14th. Stacy gained a spot in the opening lap, and Baptista dropped a position just to gain it back in the third lap. The Flying Lizard duo dug in, setting quick lap times and saving their Pirelli tires to fight for the final laps of the race. With 25 minutes remaining, Batista broke back into the top five, and ten minutes later made the pass on Anthony Mantella to take fourth. He closed in on the lead pack to fight Lawson Aschenbach for third position when contact from the No. 80 KTM Xbow spun the No. 3 Porsche in turn five. Baptista saved the car and recovered, but was forced to pit with suspension damage, ending his race early. Stacy showed a late race charge to earn a top ten finish, bringing the No. 14 Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR across the finish line in ninth.
The duo’s fastest laps in race one gave Baptista a sixth place starting position for race two, with Stacy starting tenth. Under overcast skies, the field lined up to take their standing start positions. Both Porsche Cayman Clubsport MRs launched off the line, gaining ground before entering turn one. Baptista gained three positions to challenge in third, while Stacy earned the Best Start of the Race award by jumping four positions to race in sixth. The race immediately went to full course caution due to a car stalling on the front straight. At the restart, each of the Flying Lizard Porsches dropped a position, racing fourth and seventh with less than 40 minutes remaining. The leaders pulled away to create a four second gap on the field, as Baptista climbed back to third position, despite heavy pressure from Mantella behind him. With less than ten minutes remaining, race control called the No. 3 Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR in to serve a drive through penalty for passing a lapped car in a yellow zone. Baptista served the penalty and rejoined in eighth. Meanwhile, Stacy continued his climb through the field, advancing to fifth. In the final laps, the Flying Lizard duo ran sixth and seventh, with Baptista taking position over Stacy in the final lap.
“We are very happy with the performance of both drivers and cars this weekend,” said Program Manager Darren Law. “Things did not go our way in the end, but we showed that we can run up front and be competitive over the course of the event. We’ll have a productive test at Lime Rock Park and just keep improving from there.”
With the race weekend now complete, the team will pack up the paddock and journey to Lime Rock Park in Lakeville Connecticut for rounds seven and eight of the GTS Championship. The seven turn, 1.5 mile track should suit the Porsche Cayman Clubsport MRs well, and the team will participate in a promoter test day before the races take place on May 26-27. For ticket and schedule information, visit world-challenge.com.
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.