Rolex 24 at Daytona and Sebring 12 Hour class winner Dion von Moltke has secured a season long drive with the California-based Flying Lizard Motorsports squad for the remainder of the 2013 American Le Mans Series.
The PR Newswire-backed driver will drive the No.44 Porsche in the GTC class starting this weekend at the famous Long Beach Grand Prix alongside Brian Wong.
Flying Lizard Motorsports has been one of the most prolific teams in GT racing in the US over the past 10 years – winning three driver's and two teams championships aboard Porsche machinery.
For the 2013 season, Flying Lizard is contesting the wildly competitive GTC class of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron.
The sister No.45 Flying Lizard Porsche will be driven this week by Nelson Canache Jr. (Venezuela) and Spencer Pumpelly (USA).
von Moltke moves to Flying Lizard after winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona for Alex Job Racing aboard a factory Audi R8 and then backing that up with success at Sebring aboard the WeatherTech Porsche – also with Alex Job Racing.
DION VON MOLTKE Q&A
Q: HOW EXCITED ARE YOU ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET A FULL SEASON DRIVE WITH FLYING LIZARD?
A: "I really couldn't be more excited. This whole year, so far, has been up in the air going from race-to-race, not really know what you were doing next.
"It makes it very difficult as a driver because you don't have the security that lets you sit back, breathe, and really hone in and focus on the next race, if you don't know where your next race will be.
"To be with a team of the caliber of Flying Lizard is really incredible as a driver. It's something that you dream of.
"Coming up through the ranks when they got their Porsche factory development deal, I was just trying to make my way into sports car racing. I always looked up to Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Patrick Pilet and Marco Holzer driving their cars
"They were always at the front and always fighting for class wins at Sebring and battling for championships. It really speaks volumes for how the team works and the success they've had in the past.
"I really couldn't be more excited to be joining them in their GTC racing venture, starting off at Long Beach with Brian Wong. PR Newswire is also joining us. Bringing them back to the American Le Mans Series is a great thing on all ends."
Q: DO YOU THINK THE SUCCESS YOU'VE HAD THIS YEAR ALREADY HAS HELPED OPEN DOORS FOR YOU?
A: "Absolutely. I think teams look at the big races and how you compete there. Daytona and Sebring are 24 and 12-hour sprint races these days. It's not like as a driver that you can just putt around. You have to be fast but you also have to be very smart in traffic and making sure you bring the car home.
"It's the same for all of the short sprint races. You have to make sure you that you're on pace and battling for the lead.
"It definitely helps me learn a lot, working with a great team like Alex Job Racing over the last year, and some really great co-drivers. The knowledge I've been able to build up over the years, and especially the GTC car this year, is going to help me moving forward and bringing additional value to Flying Lizard.
"Their knowledge is huge because of everything they've done and all of their wins and championships. They know how to get it done.
"I've only really had phone conversations with the team. I haven't actually met anyone yet but I'm already feeling comfortable with them."
Q: HOW MUCH ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GET YOUR TEETH INTO THE BATTLE OF GTC?
A: "There are so many competitive Porsche drivers in that class right now and there's so many internationally renowned drivers as well, such as Porsche Super Cup champions with Jeroen Bleekemolen, Sean Edwards and Damien Faulkner. We know Alex Job is going to be fast. NGT Motorsports is going to be fast. Spencer Pumpelly in the other Lizard car is one of the best Porsche drivers on the planet. Jan Heylen also is incredibly fast and experienced.
"There's a huge amount of talent. Every one of the teams and drivers have won championships. It's the most competition this class has ever seen and it's going to be a really exciting series to watch for the rest of the year.
"It's great having a good team like Flying Lizard to help back me and give me the tools I need to go out there and compete with those guys. Every little advantage we can get to come out on top will be important."
Q: YOU'VE WON ALREADY THIS YEAR IN AN AUDI IN THE ROLEX SERIES AND IN A PORSCHE IN ALMS – WHAT ARE THE MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE CARS?
A: "Both are great to drive and I've been really fortunate to be in victory lane in both brands. I'm thrilled with the Porsche deal at Flying Lizard but we're also working very hard to try to get the Audi R8 back into the Rolex Series.
"We've been working very hard with my manager Duncan Dayton to try get the Audi back on track as well as bringing me together with Flying Lizard.
""The Audi is a car that tells you how it likes to be driven. You're very smooth with it and guide it to the corners. The Porsche, on the other hand, has a really different driving style. You can kind of tell it what you want and you really can be aggressive with it.
"It's a night-and-day different driving style, and it actually does take you quite a few laps."
Q: HOW MUCH ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO LONG BEACH?
A: "I raced at Long Beach with TRG in 2011, so it's been a little while. I'll have to refresh myself when I get there.
"It's one of the toughest venues we go to. Not only is it a street circuit and you really have to be completely perfect around a lap, you also don't get much track time. So it puts a lot of emphasis on the teams and drivers to show up ready to rock and roll from the start.
"We only have a two-hour practice, then qualifying six hours later. Then the only thing we do Saturday is go straight to the race. It provides a different challenge for drivers that are used to having the track time in order to set up the car.
"So we'll definitely have a big challenge and that's where having a really good team is even more important. It's going to really mean a lot if your engineers are able to give you a car that is really good right off the track.
"Long Beach is probably one of the best races in North America that we go to. You just have to make sure, as a driver, that you don't get distracted and don't let yourself go out there and lose your focus because you have so much time when you're not on track.
"It's easy to let the emotions take away from it and peak at the wrong time. As a driver, it's really important to be very disciplined, being around the team and being completely focused.
"The team that does the best job across the board is going to be the one that wins this race."