ALTON, Vir. – After a month break in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS calendar, Flying Lizard Motorsports returns to VIRginia International Raceway this weekend for rounds three and four of the SprintX championship with Mike Hedlund, Adam Merzon, and Ryan Eversley in the pair of Audi R8 LMS GT4 cars. In preparation for the event, the team has completed three days of testing at this particular track, in both dry and wet conditions, confident with the progress made entering into the next rounds of the championship.
This weekend’s doubleheader hosts rounds three and four of the ten SprintX races. The traditional 50 minute, one driver format is replaced with a 60 minute race to be completed by two drivers, with special exceptions for bronze-rated drivers. A pit stop is mandatory, but no tire changes are allowed for the GTS class. Driver #1 will qualify Saturday morning and start that afternoon’s race. Driver #2 will finish the race, and start the Sunday’s race event based on the car’s fastest lap in race one. The GTS championship has two main classes: the GTS Pro-Am, and GTS-Am.
The Pit Stops
All pit stops in the SprintX championship have a required minimum time of 75 seconds, starting at the pit in beacon line and ending at the pit out beacon. It will take roughly 30 seconds to make it down pit road at Circuit of the Americas, giving teams roughly 45 seconds to complete driver changes.
Bronze-rated Mike Hedlund (GTS-AM) will continue the SprintX Championship as the only driver in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS. Last month, Hedlund was taken out of contention at the start of race one when contact from another car pushed him into the concrete wall on the front straight. Hedlund rebounded in race two, starting from the back of the pack to finish third in class. He now sits second in the GTSA Sprint point standings, and is tied for tenth in the GTSA SprintX standings.
Full time driver Adam Merzon will again be joined by SprintX addition Ryan Eversley in the No. 23 Case-It Racing by Flying Lizard Motorsports (GTS Pro-AM). The duo earned an eighth place finish in race two at Circuit of the Americas, the second top-ten finish so far this season for the No. 23 Audi R8 LMS. Merzon and Eversley are tied for eleventh in the SprintX standings.
Nestled in Alton, Virginia, VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) is a 3.27-mile, 17-turn paved road course. Sixty-one years after its opening, VIR continues to be a favorite among sports car fans, boasting beautiful elevation changes and vantage points. The asphalt track has two front straights, with a combined total distance of approximately 7,000 feet. Despite having successes at almost every track across North America, VIRginia International Raceway remains to be one of the few tracks at which Flying Lizard Motorsports has yet to celebrate a win. The team’s best finish to date at VIR is second place, earned by Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long in 2012.
The track itself is another technical challenge for engineers, cars, and drivers. From an engineering standpoint, the machines will need to have a stiffer setup to maintain a good platform, but not so stiff to compromise the tires compliance and grip. Both car and driver will need to be able to handle mid to high speed technical turns and quick transitions. Running with the best damper setting will also be a critical key to success, due to the amount of curb use and required platform recovery.
Race one, Round 3 of the SprintX Championship, will begin Saturday, April 28 at 3:40PM Eastern, followed by race two, Round 4, Sunday, April 29 at 1:50PM ET. Live timing for the event will be available on the TSL event page, and Flying Lizard Motorsports will offer live updates throughout the event on twitter. Pirelli World Challenge will offer live streaming, available on the event page, and as well as on the series YouTube channel. Following the event, Rounds 3 & 4 of the GTS SprintX championship will air on CBS Sports Network Wednesday, May 9 at 8:00PM ET.
Mike Hedlund | No. 45 Audi R8 LMS GT4
After a successful test at Virginia International Raceway earlier this season, I’m excited to return for the race weekend. It’s one of the best drivers’ tracks in the world and after we mix together 35+ GT4 cars, I’m sure it’ll be a great show for the fans. I have points to make up after being taken out in race one at our last round in Austin, so we’ll be in full attack mode all weekend!
Adam Merzon | No. 23 Audi R8 LMS GT4
VIR has traditionally been a good track for both Ryan and I. Last year I was able to win both of the Sprint X GTS races in the Case-it car, and now that Ryan and I have gotten our first Sprint-X race under our belts, I think we’re going to be a strong contender.
Ryan Eversley | No. 23 Audi R8 LMS GT4 | SprintX Addition
I really enjoy racing at VIR! Its the closest track to my home on the schedule so we usually have a lot of friends and family attend. I won my first pro race at VIR and I think it’s one of the best race tracks on the Pirelli World Challenge schedule. When you combine Adam’s pace and my experience at this track with our top notch crew at Flying Lizard, I think we’ll be in the fight for podiums in the Case-it Machine.
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.