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Pirelli Paddock Pass: Darren Law

Darren Law is the focus of this week’s Pirelli Paddock Pass…

Photo: Flying Lizard Motorsports

Flying Lizard Motorsports has been a staple on the North American sports car racing scene for years, and will be focussing on running a pair of Audi R8 LMS GT4 machines in Pirelli World Challenge GTS competition next year.

This week in the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Flying Lizard team principal/program manager Darren Law fills us in on the team’s offseason changes and provides some insight into a team that has long been a fan favorite.

What went into the decision to switch from Porsche to Audi in Pirelli World Challenge GTS next season?

“There were several factors that pushed us in that direction and it was not an easy decision. When you evaluate the performance potential of the new cars compared to the existing GT4 cars you have to take a serious look at the different options.

“It is about picking a program that has an opportunity to not only produce success in 2018 but for many seasons beyond. We have had a long relationship with Porsche and we won several races last season but there is such a demand right now for the GT4 class and part of that is driven by all of the new cars that are available.

“Performance is just one factor, the support system from the manufacture is also very important, from BoP to marketing to track side support and cost, all of these factors helped us to choose the Audi R8 LMS GT4.”

Did your previous relationship with Audi in IMSA and the Audi program at Thunderhill in recent years make the choice an easier one?

“Yes, having had a relationship with Audi and also still racing and winning with our R8 GT3 played a role in our decision.

“We know the people in the organization, we know the system and we have had success with them both in IMSA and as you mentioned at Thunderhill so they were at the top of our list.”

How much work is it behind the scenes when you switch manufacturers? Is there a great deal of new equipment needed?

“There is quite a bit of work that has to be done behind the scenes. The team has to get acquainted with a new car and understand the nuances of how things work, we have to restock with all new parts, understand a new system and procedures.

“It also takes a lot of new equipment as not everything transfers over from one manufacturer to another like set up fixtures, fueling systems and even tools.”

What is the focus of the team in the next month and a half until the season begins in St. Petersburg?

“Aside from rebranding everything, once we get the cars, we have to completely go through go through them to understand everything, prepare them the way we want things to be so that they work best for our team’s procedures.

“We want to understand what they require for setup and the drivers need to get comfortable as well which means testing.”

How has SprintX changed the business model for teams like yours? 

“What the series does with the racing program is critical for our business, in theory this should bring more drivers but it hasn’t proven to do that yet for us.

“Last season GT3 had SprintX and GT4 did not. This year both classes are running SprintX so things are still changing and I think many teams are struggling with how to adjust the business model to make this work for them.

“We need some consistency to properly structure things, so as of right now, I can’t say for certain that SprintX has helped us or hurt us. We are still trying to adjust the business model to work for this type of program.”

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Jerry

    January 31, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    Great interview and good insight from behind the scenes, Flying Lizard is my favorite team I have followed them from their start in IMSA, hopefully we will see them back there again. They always run upfront for the win in any car they put on track, GT4 had a huge class in IMSA at Daytona, it was great racing I am looking forward to watching this class in PWC.

    • Curtis

      February 1, 2018 at 9:03 am

      GT4 is definitely growing. It’s an exciting class to watch. So, I’m sure the class will continue to see growth in both field size and popularity. Having a team like FLMS participating certainly helps.

  2. Curtis

    February 1, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Darren was a tremendous driver. In fact, he ran some excellent stints at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill back in December. So, he’s still got it! He’s doing a great job at Flying Lizard Motorsports. He’s certainly growing the Flying Lizard brand. No doubt, Seth Neiman is proud of what Darren and the team have evolved into. I’ve been a fan since the ALMS days and plan on remaining one for a long long time. I’ve seen, on other threads, where people comment how FLMS has somehow disappeared. I disagree, under Darren Law the team has expanded its footprint in motorsport, adapted well to a changing motorsport environment and are continuously growing.

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