Flying Lizard team principal and driver of the No. 81 Flying Lizard Porsche reflects on the team's six trips to Le Mans and explains why the Sonoma-based GT team will bring two cars for the first time this year.
Q: What has been your favorite Flying Lizard Motorsports moment at Le Mans thus far?
In 2006, in the middle of the night, I spent an hour in the gravel trap at the Dunlop Curve trying to get the car to restart. I was forced to rely on my background as an electronics engineer – tracing the problem, getting advice from the crew standing nearby – just trying to diagnose the problem and get back in the race. The entire time there were literally thousands of fans standing nearby, watching, and chanting "Lizard, Lizard, Lizard." A huge cheer erupted when I finally found the problem and got going again. Though not a great result for us, I will never forget that scene and the crowd.
Q: What's the one thing about Le Mans you look forward to every year?
There are so many things I love about Le Mans – the track, the excitement of the event itself, the Porsche Curves. But I think my favorite thing is the beauty of running at dawn – though the race is only half over, there really is nothing like coming under the Dunlop Bridge and seeing the first signs of light in the sky.
Q: What's the most underrated aspect of the week?
The drivers' parade. It really is a wild ride, and reminds us how much this event means to the city.
Q: Why bring two cars this year?
We are naturally put together as a two-car team, and things lined up this year to make it possible and sensible to run two cars.
Q: Who will be your biggest competition in each category (GTE Pro and GTE Am)?
The Felbermayr (Proton Competition) and Krohn cars will be strong in AM, and in Pro it's a very long list. The Corvettes were stunningly quick here last year, the BMWs seem to have an advantage this season in straightline speed, the Ferraris have a top driver lineup and a well-driven car, and the toughest Porsche competitors are all back. Should be a very strong class.
Q: How critical is it for excellent showings not just by the team, but by Porsche as well?
We both measure ourselves by the performance at Le Mans. It is a great test of the teams and the cars. For ALMS teams, Le Mans is often the first race of the year on a course that is similar to those that make up the bulk of our season (as is the case this year). It is an event to bring out our best.
Q: Better wine: France or Sonoma?
I am not gonna touch that one!!