Driver Profile: Markus Winkelhock
Driver, No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS
How different was the mindset in being the one driver continuing with Flying Lizard Motorsports for this year’s Rolex 24, compared to last year’s lineup?
“For sure I was happy and proud to be a part of the Lizards again at the Daytona 24. Especially after 2014 when we finished on the podium, I was really motivated for this year’s race. Unfortunately, we had to change the clutch after one hour of racing and we lost more than 30 laps, and our dream of winning the race was over. But we kept on fighting til the end and finished in the top 10.”
What was your take on the paddock atmosphere in the TUDOR Championship, Daytona 2015 vs. Daytona 2014?
“It was as cool as always. The nice atmosphere in Daytona is also one of the reasons why I always love to come back to this race. Also the American fans are so nice and friendly. This is the way racing should be.”
How do you adjust your driving style to different specifications of Audi R8s? Describe the differences between racing the TUDOR-spec Audi at Daytona vs. the GT3-spec Audi at Bathurst, for example.
“Fortunately, I am kind of a driver who can adapt to new cars and racetracks pretty quickly, so it’s not a big problem from that point of view. It’s still quite a difference between both of the cars, with the TUDOR spec, there’s no ABS and traction control, and also we have less downforce. Laptime-wise the car is slower then the GT3 spec. But that doesn’t mean it’s easier to drive, quite the contrary I would say. It’s more difficult to drive cause it’s easier to make a mistake like locking up front wheels.”
What are some of your training elements to open the year with two endurance races, racing the 24 hours of Daytona and then the 12 hours of Bathurst?
“I did a lot of sport to be fit for the challenges. For Bathurst, you really have to prepare due to the high outside temperatures; it can get very hot in the car.”
What do you enjoy about racing in America?
“There’s a very nice atmosphere, the fans and of course the racetracks. For example, in Europe I am not used to racing on an oval, like you do for most of the lap at Daytona.”