I’ve been a part of Flying Lizard Motorsports since 2004, and it has been an amazing journey for me.
For the better part of a decade, my position with the team has been as a driver, but starting in 2015 I took over as an owner and took on a management position. It has been a great learning experience seeing the other side of the racing business.
Honestly, I now realize how great I had it as a driver, however, I am really enjoying the new responsibilities and challenges, and I’m happy to see us continue and grow now in our fifth year with the new program.
The team has had to adjust and move from a privately funded operation to more of a customer race operation, and now we have expanded to have multiple racing programs and are involved in several projects and race series. I am looking forward to providing some insight the rest of this season about our team, our drivers, and our programs for Sportscar365 throughout the season.
Earlier this month, we had a unique opportunity to give one of our newer drivers, Erin Vogel (pictured above), a chance to run her first professional race weekend.
She is not new to racing and has experience on a club racing level. She joined us this season with the goal to advance her racing skills and eventually get to a professional event.
Currently she races with us in a more developmental series, the Pirelli Trophy West which is a Porsche based series mainly on the West Coast. She has done well and shown good progress so we opted to run the SRO Pirelli GT4 America event recently at Sonoma Raceway.
Since our race shop is based at Sonoma, this is our home track and it was the perfect opportunity for her to take on a new challenge. She has a proper approach to her racing, is working hard on her driving, and has both Michael Cooper and Robby Foley offering expert advice as her coaches.
The goal for the weekend was to finish the races, stay out of trouble, and learn.
GT4 America is a very competitive series with very large fields, so Erin was jumping in deep for her first professional event! For the first race she did a great job in qualifying ended up 13th out of 21 cars and fifth in the AM class.
She had a great race going, but unfortunately got hit and bumped around a bit. The drivers are more aggressive than she is used to, but she handled it well and kept pushing. During a mid-race yellow she lost a little on the restart, but it was a good run, and the car was in fine condition and ready for race two on Sunday.
In Race 2, she again experienced all the things that happen in these events, expertly avoided cars crashing in front of her, and had some hard racing but she stayed out of trouble and brought the car back. She learned a lot and showed she has speed.
There is still more learning to do from the race craft perspective but it was a good run and gave us an understanding what she needs to do continue to grow.
Our next event for GT4 America is Portland International Raceway where we will have Michael Dinan and Robby Foley back with us.
We are looking forward to closing out the season with Michael, who is another new driver on a steep learning curve. He has the speed and we look forward to working with him to help him progress.