After stepping away from a storied sports car career that included 11 years of professional racing in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series and the American Le Mans Series as well as nine trips to the Circuit de la Sarthe for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Flying Lizard Motorsports founder Seth Neiman recently returned to Porsche competition, racing in the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA season-finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Following a three year hiatus from racing, Neiman was ecstatic to get back behind the wheel of a Porsche GT4, rekindling his long association with one of the most fabled brands in motorsport. And it wasn’t just the cars that he was happy to be reunited with.
“Well of course the dominant experience is just to see so many old friends from the very beginning of my pro motorsports career,” said Neiman. “The fans are also really nice to come back to. It’s always surprising to me when people are yelling my name. But, a lot of people have a connection to the old Lizards, so that’s been the most fun. I am really impressed with the (Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA) series. It’s kind of an interesting combination of serious race cars but some that can be handled without all of the surrounding equipment that it takes to run a full pro race car.”
Neiman joined the 15-car field of Silver Class drivers, all competing in the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport platform. Neiman’s return also featured the classic red and silver Flying Lizard livery to bring fans back in time to where it all started for the team.
“I didn’t realize until I saw the reaction from the fans how people connect with that history and the image that we created,” said Neiman. “People don’t realize that this car is not far off, power-wise, from a GT2 RSR from four or five years ago, and that was a 440-horsepower car. I’m used to ‘can we tweak this and tweak that and what does the data say,’ but here we don’t have any of that stuff. It’s a little more old school and instinctual racing.”
Having raced against some of the sport’s greats in his outings in events like Le Mans and Daytona, Neiman appreciated the opportunity to race against a talented field of up-and-coming drivers who are moving up the motorsports ladder as well as racers who thrive on the competition and camaraderie that is a staple of the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA series.
“It was really interesting for me being out there in my first race in three years and it’s very different to not race with all pros,” mentioned Neiman. “Though amateurs, everyone is very situationally aware, and respectful of their fellow competitors. Of course, pro drivers are very sensitive to the small things that allow easy collaboration on a pass or in traffic. This series has a good number of very talented drivers who can take these cars to the limit. If you think about it, how many opportunities are there for people to have a high-level racing experience on a realistic budget? And more than that, it is great racing and it is feasible financially for a team to run.”
Although Neiman relished the opportunity to return to the race track after taking some time off, the true racer within emerged as he was hoping for more at the close of the race weekend.
“For me personally – and it’s been a long time since I have been in a race – I forgot how many things can go wrong, so we spent most of the weekend with a broken car,” said Neiman. “It’s been a lot of fun although I am not happy with my results, but I was here for fun and I’m had a great time!”
The Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA sets its sights on the 2018 season where the series will play host for each of the eight race weekends, featuring a 16-race championship for both the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machines and for the Porsche Cayman ClubSport GT4 as the series continues to grow.
Source. Sunday Group