SONOMA, Calif. – This weekend at Sonoma Raceway, the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge season will conclude with Rounds 17 and 18 of the GTS championship. While the driver championship has already been decided, Flying Lizard Motorsports sits second the team championship points as well as second in the manufacturer points.
The Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR team will have a final two race fight to gain precious championship points in front of the home crowd at Sonoma Raceway. Flying Lizard Motorsports moved into its Sonoma Raceway shop in 2004, and quickly expanded to include the shop next door. Now in 2017, the multi-championship winning team operates out of four facilities, racing in more series than before.
The double header event will cap what has been a successful debut season in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class for Flying Lizard Motorsports. The team made international headlines when news broke about the former factory supported team’s return to race Porsches, bringing two fan favorite brands together for the first time on a professional level since 2013.
For Brazilian Rodrigo Baptista, each race on the 2017 calendar was new, having never raced in the United States previously. American Nate Stacy had ample experience in American muscle cars, but had to relearn his racing technique with the German Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR. At the opening rounds at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Baptista and Stacy showed a strong first appearance, earning three top five finishes in the double header event. Adversity plagued the team for the next two events at VIRginia International Raceway and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, with two DNFs results and only one top five.
Always a good track for the Lizards, Lime Rock Park was the site of the season’s turning point, when in race one, Rodrigo Baptista earned the team its first GTS win, alongside Nate Stacy who produced the team’s second podium finish. The success in race one marked Flying Lizard’s first professional win and podium since new ownership took over the team at the end of the 2014 season. In race two, the pair duplicated their results yet again, providing the team with ample momentum for the second half of the season. Road America and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course proved to be challenging for the Lizards, but Stacy brought the team another podium finish to add to two more top five results.
At Utah Motorsport Campus, both drivers and cars excelled in the higher elevation, with Baptista dominating race one to earn another win, and Stacy put forth an impressive charge from sixth to fourth to grace the podium yet again. Almost unbearable heat plagued the penultimate event at Circuit of the Americas, but true to form, the Lizards stepped up to deliver. Baptista earned another win and podium finish, and Stacy locked in two more top ten results.
With just two rounds remaining, the pair are tied for fourth in the 2017 GTS driver point standings. Both drivers have previously completed testing at Sonoma’s 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course, which will make both drivers strong contenders from the start of the weekend. Round 17 will be streamed live via world-challenge.com, Saturday, September 16 at 5:15PM Pacific. Round 18 will be the following afternoon, Sunday, September 17 at 2:30PM. For schedule information, visit world-challenge.com
Rodrigo Baptista | No. 3 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR | 4 Wins | 6 Podiums
It is hard to believe this is the last race of the season. We will probably have a good performance at our home race, as the team shop is based at Sonoma and we did some testing there as well. I would like say thank you to everyone that helped me in any way, especially the No. 3 team: Brad Roberts, Matt Lucas, Andy Greer, Henrique Cruz, and Geraldo Rodrigues. Thank you also to Kelly Brouillet, Jim Bell, Chris Barber, Scott Corriea, Darren Law and Terry Borcheller. It was an awesome first year here in the United States. Also, big thanks to Porsche Motorsport North America and Mobil 1 for their support. Last but not least, to my family, thanks for the support as always. I am looking forward to finish the season with another great performance and will do my maximum to get it done.
Nate Stacy | No. 14 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR | 4 Podiums
I’m getting fired up for the final round of the championship. Me and Rodrigo had a lot of test time before the race and we are feeling confident in our overall pace, and some team driving we worked on during the test. I can’t wait to see how fast we can push it.
Darren Law | Program Manager
The 2017 season has gone by quickly. Racing the final event at Sonoma is special to us, as this is our home track and we are based here. We have had a great season so far with several wins and podiums as well as top qualifying positions. Racing for the win is never easy, but this is a good track for the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR, and we are looking forward to closing out the season on the top step. We look forward to a great weekend and hope to carry the momentum of this successful season in to next year.
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.