SONOMA, Calif. – Flying Lizard Motorsports will return to the Pirelli World Challenge in 2018 for its second season of competition in the GTS class.
For the first time since 2014, the team will field two full season Audi R8 LMS GT4 entries, driven by Mike Hedlund and Adam Merzon. Ryan Eversley will join Merzon in the Case-it Racing by Flying Lizard Motorsports entry for the five SprintX race weekends.
“I’m looking forward to the potential that racing with Audi Sport customer racing will provide for us,” said Program Manager Darren Law. “With so many new cars coming into GT4 this year, we had to take a hard look at everyone and evaluate the performance and program each of them to provide our team the best opportunity for success. Audi always delivers an extremely competitive car and they are focused on the performance. We were very impressed after a review of the new R8 LMS GT4 and having previously had a relationship with Audi Sport customer Racing, this was an obvious choice.”
Flying Lizard Motorsports first raced the Audi R8 LMS in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, finishing second in the team’s first race of the season, the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The California squad has a winning history with the Audi R8 LMS, clinching overall victory at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill in 2015, 2016, and 2017. The team will retain the same crew from 2017, bringing with them existing knowledge of and experience with the Audi R8 LMS.
“Our relationship with Flying Lizard Motorsports was launched in 2014 and they have been extremely successful with Audi since the beginning,” said Tristan Herbert, Audi, Senior Manager, Motorsport & Customer Racing. “Most recently, they won the 25 Hours of Thunderhill for the third year in a row. This team knows the Audi brand and how to win. We are delighted to have them represent Audi Sport customer racing with a two-car Audi R8 LMS GT4 program.”
Hedlund first joined Flying Lizard at Sonoma Raceway in 2016, where he earned back-to-back third-place finishes at the team’s home track. He has since been a reoccurring driver with the program, taking part in the 2016 overall win at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, and again the following year with the 2017 Toyo Tires GT Challenge class win. Hedlund will race the 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports liveried Audi R8 LMS GT4 for the entirety of the season. As a bronze rated driver, Hedlund will be eligible to run the two-driver formatted SprintX Races without a co-driver.
“It’s fantastic to be reunited with all my friends at Flying Lizard for the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge GTS season,” said Hedlund. “While I have plenty of experience in PWC over the last few seasons, both the GTS class and the Audi R8 LMS GT4 will be new to me. The grid is shaping up to be ultra-competitive with an impressive variety of new GT4 spec machines piloted by top level drivers, so it’ll be a great show. The last time I drove an Audi we won the 25 Hours of Thunderhill together and if all goes well, we should be just as competitive in the new Audi R8 LMS GT4 car.”