Flying Lizard Returns to Daytona
Flying Lizard Motorsports announced today the entry of the No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in GT for the 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona, Jan. 28-29.
|Flying Lizard Porsche|
The No. 45 will be run in conjunction with Wright Motorsports. The driver lineup is Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Patrick Long (USA), Mike Rockenfeller (Germany), and Seth Neiman (USA). Bergmeister and Long are Porsche factory drivers and co-drivers of the team's No. 45 Porsche in the American Le Mans Series. Rockenfeller has been an Audi Factory driver since 2007; this will be his first race with the Lizards since the 2004 Rolex 24, in which he finished second in GT in the No. 74 Porsche. Neiman is Flying Lizard team principal and drives the team's No. 44 ALMS Porsche.
This will be Flying Lizard's fourth year at the Rolex 24. In 2011, the GT team fielded its first prototype: the No. 45 Porsche-powered Riley DP. After a promising start from the pole (Bergmeister) and having set the fastest race lap, the No. 45 was retired at hour 23 after a challenging race. In 2010, the No. 67 Flying Lizard/TRG Porsche GT3 Cup finished second in GT. In 2005 the No. 75 Porsche finished thirteenth, and in 2004, the No. 74 Flying Lizard Porsche GT3 Cup was second in GT and third overall.
Bergmeister has won three times here: in GT in 2009 (with Patrick Long) in GT and overall in 2003, and in GT in 2002. He was also the GRAND-AM DP champion in 2006. He reflected on the famous circuit: "It's great to be back at Daytona. I've had a lot of success here: three wins, including one overall. And of course, last year, being on the pole in the No. 45 DP was definitely a rush. We've also had some tough breaks at this track. In 2011, we were the fastest car on track but weren't able to translate that into results and in 2010 we had a strong lead until a problem at the end knocked us back to second."
Bergmeister and Long have not driven with Rockenfeller under the Lizard banner but the three are long-time colleagues. Over his career, Rockenfeller has won numerous elite distance races including the Rolex 24 (overall in 2010), the 24 Hours of Le Mans (overall in 2010, GT in 2005) and several championships including the 2008 Le Mans Series title. In 2006, Rockenfeller and Long drove together in a DP and won twice overall during the Rolex Series season.
"Rocky is a great guy and a very good friend," Bergmeister said. "He, Patrick and I last drove together in 2007 but we know each other really well and should be able to hit the ground running at the test in January."
Flying Lizard chief strategist Thomas Blam added, "This is such a big event. We've never won here, but we've come close: after taking a break for a few years we came back to finish second in 2010, and last year had a superfast car. Of course, I don't think we will ever forget our first year here in 2004 (the last time Rocky drove with us) when we came within seven seconds of winning in class."
Blam continued, "We're pleased to be working with Wright Motorsports on the program; I'm confident we'll have a solid entry. GT is certainly going to be competitive: there are numerous new entries since we last ran GT in 2010-- including Audi and Ferrari. It should be a very exciting race and we are very happy to be back."