Lizards Enjoy Successful ROAR

by Nick Smith

Flying Lizard Motorsports have started their season with a successful ROAR Before the 24 test at Daytona. Returning to Daytona International Speedway for the second year with the Audi R8 LMS, the team which placed second in GT Daytona in 2014 brought an new driver line up for the test. Tomonobu Fujii, Satoshi Hoshino, Robert Thorne and Marcus Winkelhock turned in 187 laps of the speedway during the three day test.

Both Fujii and Hoshino used the ROAR to make their Daytona debut, despite extensive endurance racing experience. All four drivers had the opportunity to sample Daytona in both dry and wet conditions as the conditions changed late in the programme. In night running on Saturday the #45 Audi R8 LMS set the second fastest time in class. When the weather turned on Sunday the team tested during the morning, leaving the circuit ahead of the eighth session.

Darren Law, recently promoted to Programme Manager for Flying Lizard, said, “Overall I think we had a really good weekend. It was my first time coming in back with the team in a different role, but it was a great transition because I knew everybody here already and I know the industry so I’m really enjoying the new role with Flying Lizard. As far as the car and the drivers, it was an excellent test. The car was quick, and of course, this is a very well established season program that has done this race many times. We left here with a quick car, with consistent drivers, and I feel very good about coming back to the race.”

Tomonobu Fujii commented, “I’m very familiar with the Audi R8 LMS from my experience in Super GT, and this car was fantastic. The car has great speed, braking, and handles very well. It had good grip on the track and is easy to drive. This is my first time running here in the United States and I am really enjoying being at Daytona International Speedway. I’m glad we were able to run in both wet and dry conditions so that I could be more prepared for what may come at us during the race at the end of the month.

“I already have experience running 24 hour endurance races in Japan and Dubai, so I’m looking forward to applying that knowledge to this experience. We will continue to keep focused in order to be at the top of the podium in our Audi R8 LMS at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.”

Hoshino added, “It is a great pleasure to drive at a historic and prestigious track like Daytona International Speedway for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. This has been such a great experience to be testing here for the past three days. After having 3 full days of driving on track, I feel very confident about coming back for the event next week. I will do my best during the race to contribute to the team to help them get the results we deserve. I’m excited to be racing with these drivers and I cannot wait to be back here in the Audi R8 LMS in two weeks and go for the win at the Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona.”

Winkelhock is targeting the top step of the podium. He said,”I’m absolutely happy with the test. The car was good, and team was good as always. I feel confident in the car on the track. I think we’ve got a good driver line-up for the race. I’ve done seven 24 Hours with the Audi R8 LMS and I’ve never had a technical issue so I think we have a really reliable car for the race. As I said, the car is well prepared from the Lizards. I think we have a good chance to be on top of the podium at the end of the race. This must be the target especially after last year when we finished second. I am really looking forward to the race. I’m fully motivated. Victory must be the target.”

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