SONOMA, Calif. – After a second place finish in their Pikes Peak Int’l Hill Climb debut in 2018, Flying Lizard Motorsports is set to return to the Race to the Clouds with Toyo Tires and Clint Vahsholtz, racing a McLaren 650S GT3.
In the team’s Pikes Peak debut, Vahsholtz and the Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 12C GT3 finished second in class on the 12.42-mile, 156 turn course. Located on the highest summit of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, Pikes Peak Int’l Hill Climb is the second oldest automotive racing event in North America, and the only course where the finish line sits 4,720 feet above the starting line.
“We are looking forward to taking on the Pikes Peak Hill climb for a second year with Toyo Tires,” said Flying Lizard Program Manager Darren Law. “The McLaren 650S GT3 will allow us more options in gearing, and a better aero, suspension and electronics package which should help in all areas. Clint Vahsholtz is the winningest driver at Pikes Peak, and he has put a lot of work into learning the 650S GT3 with our recent testing at Sonoma Raceway.”
Flying Lizard Motorsports and Toyo Tires started a tire testing and development program in 2015, and have gone on to record four consecutive overall wins at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, one of the most challenging sports car races in North America. The relationship has not only allowed Toyo Tires the opportunity to develop, test and expand their Proxes Race Slick program with the six-time IMSA champions, but has also allowed Flying Lizard Motorsport the opportunity to expand their vast racing resume to pursue new challenges. Together, the pair hold six class wins at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
“With its high number of turns and challenging corners, the road up Pikes Peak has been excellent for the ongoing development of our Proxes Race Slicks,” said Marc Sanzenbacher, senior manager, motorsports, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. “Our dedicated staff of engineers in Japan have developed a new range of Pikes Peak specific compounds we are confident will provide the needed traction and control to return our McLaren 650S GT3 to the podium once more in 2019.”
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will take place June 30. In preparation for the event, the Lizards recently completed a test at Sonoma Raceway in the McLaren 650S, giving Vahsholtz additional seat time with the GT3 machine. Former race car driver now Program Manager Darren Law was on hand to offer his expertise during the test.
“I am looking forward to the 97th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and teaming up with Flying Lizard Motorsports and Toyo Tires, said Vahsholtz. “Darren Law’s expertise and knowledge of the McLaren 12C GT3. His coaching has assisted my adaption immensely to this type of driving. Once again working with Marc and Toyo,which is the perfect tire for Pikes Peak, will allow my confidence in gripping the course. Also, with the set up expertise from Tommy Sadler and his team, we are expecting good results.”
“We are very appreciative of Toyo Tires and their commitment to this program,” concluded Law. “We have been working with them for many years now on multiple programs, they produce an amazing Proxes Race Slick that is perfect in these conditions and we can’t wait to go for the top step of the podium this year.”