No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche at Petit Le Mans - Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
The Flying LIzard American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Porsche team announced its driver lineup for a ninth season of GT competition in 2012. The Lizard team, which has two consecutive ALMS GT titles in 2008-9, finished in the top three every year since 2004. It has three ALMS GT driving championships, two with returning drivers Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long; the third came with Bergmeister and Wolf Henzler on the team.
Bergmeister and Long, who took their titles together in 2009 and 2010, are factory Porsche drivers. Once again they'll pilot the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. This duo has eight driver's titles between them, with the German driver, Bergmeister owning five and American Long (the sole American Porsche factory shoe) achieving three championships. The 2012 season will be Bergmeister/Long's fourth consecutive driving together on the Flying Lizard team.
Seth Neiman is the scheduled lead driver for the No. 44 Lizard Porsche, joined again this coming year by Porsche factory driver Marco Holzer, marking the second season for Holzer with the Lizard team. In 2011 Neiman and Holzer competed together in six ALMS races, finishing eighth and ninth, respectively, in the drivers' standings.
The 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR will have its inaugural run at the ALMS Sebring Winter Test, scheduled for February 8-9 at Sebring International Raceway. The new car has a wider body, increased front tire diameter and wider front and rear track widths. Porsche has optimized the aerodynamics with modified bodywork and added new air intake ducts to the rear quarter panels.
"We are pleased that Flying Lizard, which has been a successful Porsche customer team since 2004, has chosen to partner with us to compete for the championship in the strongest GT class in the world," said Porsche Motorsports North America president Jens Walther. "We are proud of the efforts made by our colleagues in Weissach in creating the 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR."
Flying Lizard top strategist Thomas Blam noted, "Porsche has pushed hard to deliver a new RSR for 2012. We're optimistic about what we've seen so far and we're looking forward to our first experience with the new car at Sebring."
"You learn a lot about yourself when the results don't come and in 2011 we certainly had to pull together as a team to get through a tough season," noted Patrick Long. "I'm very enthusiastic about this year."
Speaking of a truly competitive 2011 ALMS GT season Eric Ingraham added, "It was certainly one of those years when the results didn't reflect the team's competitiveness. I expect the 2012 field to be more evenly competitive this year. We are definitely eager to get back on the track and see how the off-season changes that we and Porsche have made play out."
© 2011 Anne Proffit