Flying Lizard Motorsports will campaign a single Audi R8 LMS for the Rolex 24 at Daytona as the team seeks an elusive class victory in the marquee endurance event.
According to team manager Eric Ingraham, the California-based squad worked to put deals together for the second car as originally planned. However without the pieces for two quality cars, the team elected to focus on one.
Markus Winkelhock is the lone holdover from 2014 in the team’s No. 45 entry, joined by newcomers Robert Thorne, Tomonobu Fujii and Satoshi Hoshino.
“The Lizards have celebrated success at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, but we’re still missing that crucial win,” said Darren Law, Flying Lizard program manager.
“We came incredibly close last year, and fully expect to be there at the end. We are back with the same crew and engineering staff as last season that took us to the podium.”
Winkelhock returns for this third straight Rolex 24 in an Audi, having come seventh in class with the Rum Bum Audi effort in 2013 and second last year.
Thorne, who won the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge season finale at Miller Motorsports Park, makes his return to the Rolex 24 for the first time since 2008, when he finished 10th in the GT class co-driving a Mazda RX-8.
Japanese newcomers Fujii and Hoshino have extensive experience in their home country.
Fujii won the 2007 Japan Le Mans Challenge LMGT1 and 2011 Super Taikyu Endurance Japan Champion titles, and scored a podium at the 2013 Dubai 24 Hours.
Hoshino is the 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup Japan champion and has taken quickly to racing after being a professional fencer for 30 years.
The new quartet seeks to deliver the team a win after its near miss a year ago, losing to Level 5 Motorsports.
Winkelhock fought Alessandro Pier Guidi for the win on the final lap, and was initially declared the winners with co-drivers Spencer Pumpelly, Nelson Canache and Tim Pappas when Pier Guidi was assessed a stop-and-hold plus 75-second penalty for avoidable contact.
The Ferrari dropped to fourth place in the provisional results, but five hours after the finish, the penalty was reversed and Level 5 was named the winners.