Flying Lizard Motorsports will make the switch from full-time TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competition to Pirelli World Challenge next year, as the California-based team was named Thursday as the operations partner for K-PAX Racing’s McLaren 650S GT3 cars.
The longtime IMSA squad has joined forces with the Jim Haughey-owned K-PAX team, which had been previously run by Colorado-based 3R Racing. Through that time, K-PAX collected three World Challenge class championships in seven years of competition.
“Teaming up with Flying Lizard was a natural fit for us,” Haughey said. “Our race-proven McLarens and Flying Lizard’s world-class race-team management will catapult us into contention for another championship.”
The team will be based at Flying Lizard’s shop in Sonoma, Calif. but will operate out of K-PAX’s transporters on race weekends. Driver lineups and livery designs are not expected to be released until early next year.
“Pirelli World Challenge has enjoyed great success and expansion in the last few years and we’re eager to be a part of it,” said Flying Lizard team manager Eric Ingraham.
“Jim Haughey has built a great operation in K-PAX Racing and the combination of our two teams will no doubt bring an exciting season for our fans as we race for the GT Championship.”
The team will take delivery of two brand-new McLaren 650S GT3 cars, replacing the pair of MP4-12C GT3s that were utilized this year. The new 650S GT3 made its race debut in last weekend’s Gulf 12 Hours, finishing third overall.
Flying Lizard founder Seth Neiman, meanwhile, has announced his retirement from driving, with the team set to only run a limited number of TUDOR Championship races with its Audi R8 LMS cars next year.
It marks the end of an era for the Lizards, which had run full seasons of American Le Mans Series or TUDOR Championship competition since the team’s formation in 2004, where it had racked up three class titles, 25 wins and more than 60 podium finishes.
“Due to our full season commitment of Pirelli World Challenge, a full season in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is no longer logistically possible,” Ingraham explained.
“That said, we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in the American Le Mans Series over the past decade and during the 2014 season in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
“The 2015 season will be a new challenge, and a new era for Flying Lizard Motorsports, and we’re thrilled to be racing under the K-PAX Racing banner.”