Friday
Apr062007

TEAM NEWS: FLYING LIZARD READIES FOR LONG BEACH STREET CIRCUIT; PATRICK LONG TO TEAM WITH DARREN LAW IN NO.44 PORSCHE

Photo by John Thawley Following the Flying Lizard squad's second podium finish last weekend at the St. Petersburg, Florida street circuit, the team is off to Long Beach for the third contest of the 12-race American Le Mans Series season and the second of four street races. Held in conjunction with Champ Car, the Series will headline the Saturday April 14 racing activities as part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend.

Jörg Bergmeister and Johannes van Overbeek, both second in the ALMS GT2 drivers' points chase, will pilot the Lizard's No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. In the No. 44 Porsche, Darren Law will be joined by Porsche factory driver Patrick Long. Team principal Seth Neiman said, "We're looking forward to having Patrick back with us. Long Beach will be his third race with the Lizards. Although this is our team's first race at Long Beach, Darren, Jörg and Patrick have all driven here, which will definitely be an advantage."

Most Series races are held on dedicated race tracks that are designed for endurance events. The tracks have a mix of long straightaways and left and right hand turns. The courses range from the 1.54-mile, 8-turn Lime Rock Park to the 4.5-mile 24-turn Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City. They are well-suited for American Le Mans Series racing in which four classes of cars compete on the track at the same time. In 2007, the Series is partnering with IRL and Champ Car to bring the excitement of sports car racing to four street circuits in St. Petersburg, Florida; Long Beach, California; Houston, Texas; and Detroit, Michigan.

van Overbeek reflected on competing on a street course, "Street circuits are fun but so hard on the cars and the drivers! The temporary course is created on city streets and tarmac. It's much bumpier than our standard tracks and doesn't have the grip that we're used to. And there is simply no room for error. Unlike a race track, which is designed with run off areas and tire walls, these courses are lined with concrete. They are narrow, which makes passing very tough. In American Le Mans Series races, you'll see prototypes passing the slower GT2 cars together in packs-- cars can be three and even sometimes four wide across the track before they resolve their positions and get back online. So imagine that, but in just half the space and with a concrete wall on either side and that's endurance racing on a street circuit!"

Chief Strategist Thomas Blam added, "We learned a lot at St. Pete about running the new Porsches on these types of circuits. We have only one 45 minute practice before qualifying and need to make sure we take full advantage of that to get to a reasonable race setup. You only get one shot here and we need to be ready for it."

The 1 hour and 40-minute race starts at 4 pm PT on Saturday April 14, and will be broadcast tape-delayed on SpeedTV on April 14 starting at 5 pm PT.

The race also will be broadcast by American Le Mans Radio with Live Timing & Scoring available at americanlemans.com. Flying Lizard will broadcast their radio transmissions live during the race. For more on this and on the team's 2007 schedule, see www.lizardms.com.

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