While yet to announce its full-season sports car racing plans, Flying Lizard Motorsports has confirmed that it will start its 2015 campaign at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Sportscar365 has confirmed that the California-based team will enter its two Audi R8 LMS cars in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season-opener, as it seeks an elusive GT Daytona class victory in the twice-around-the-clock endurance classic.
The Lizards celebrated in Daytona’s victory lane in January, but were stripped of the win following a reversal of a late-race penalty called on Level 5 Motorsports, which gave top class honors to the No. 555 Ferrari 458 Italia some four hours after the race.
“We came tantalizing and painfully close to the win there in 2014 and we’d love to finish that little last bit of business for the team’s sake and Audi’s sake as well,” team manager Eric Ingraham told Sportscar365.
“We’re still doing a lot of work and giving thought to 2015 and making sure we do our due diligence as far as what the options are, what they mean and where we have the best chance to race and be successful.”
Ingraham said Flying Lizard has yet to finalize its lineup for Daytona and has been in discussions with numerous drivers for the opening round of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup.
“We’ve talked to quite a few people and are happy to talk to anyone else who is interested in running at a high level,” he said. “I feel that IMSA is definitely focused on the BoP changes needed and that’s something they’ve discussed quite at length about. I’m hopeful we’ll be in a position to be quite competitive again at Daytona as we were last year.”
Multiple options are being explored for the team, including full-season Pirelli World Challenge or TUDOR Championship programs, as well as interest in the IMSA-sanctioned Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America series, although Ingraham doesn’t expect anything to be finalized for another three weeks.
As for IMSA’s recent driver ratings overhaul, which will only enforce a single Bronze/Silver-rated driver per every three or four-driver lineup at Daytona, the longtime Flying Lizard team manager feels the move could make the situation more difficult for team owners on the grounds of budget.
“I think the challenge with this change that they’ve made is that they’ve pushed the GTD class further into being a pro class,” Ingraham said. “I think that’s unfortunate because for a lot of teams, racing needs to make some business sense.
“The number of guys that are out there that are interested in funding an entire car and running with all pros is a fair amount fewer than the number of guys who are interested in running with other [paying drivers] to make the program work.
“Unfortunately, I think it makes it a little bit harder to match the right guys up for Daytona. But that said, we think we can put together very competitive cars with the right guys. I think the change will make things a little bit more complex but IMSA really getting the driver ratings right is what matters most, no matter what the layout is.”