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Event Preview: Flying Lizard Motorsports at Virginia International Raceway

An action packed weekend is in store for Flying Lizard Motorsports at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR). The SRO’s GT4 America sports car racing series is holding its first race weekend with the Sprint and SprintX championships each both holding a double header race weekend. Flying Lizard Motorsports has entered driver Michael Dinan and his No. 21 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport in both series, resulting in the young racer participating in four races over a two day period.

“We are ready for this weekend race at VIR,” said Program Manager Darren Law. “We had a great run in the first SprintX race of the year at COTA, with two podium finishes. We are getting good data on the new Porsche Cayman GT4, and with the increased performance of this car it should be good on this type of circuit. We came here earlier this month and spent two days testing. It gave both our drivers, Michael and Robby time to work with the engineering staff and continue the development of the new car. We gained a lot of data in testing and look forward to showing what we can do.”

Flying Lizard Motorsports has competed at VIR five times, earning six top-five finishes and two podiums (2012, 2018).

The Format
Sprint: The GT4 America Sprint championship consists of 50 minute races, with one driver in command of the car for the entire race. No pit stops are required, but may be taken for emergency situations. There will be one 15 minute qualifying session for race one. Race two’s starting position will be determined by the fastest lap from race one.

SprintX: The GT4 America SprintX championship extends each race by ten minutes, and two drivers will share the driving duties over the course of the sixty minutes. Each driver will participate in a qualifying session on Saturday, April 27, to set the starting position for either race one or race two. Driver A will start race one, then pit during the 10 minute mandatory window. The team is not allowed to change tires during the pit stop, but the car will undergo a driver change. Driver B will finish the race, then start race two the following day, based on his earlier qualifying position.

The Drivers
World Challenge Rookie Michael Dinan will have a packed event, running in both the Sprint and SprintX championships this weekend. Four races over the course of two days will mark the busiest weekend of his career, the first of six combined weekends for him this season.

“This will be my first double header weekend running in both Pirelli GT4 America Sprint and Sprint X,” said Dinan. “I’m looking forward to racing at VIR for the first time. Robby and I had a solid result at COTA and we hope to carry that momentum into this coming weekend.”

Robby Foley will join Michael Dinan for the SprintX races, also offering his coaching expertise when not in the car. Foley has been absent from the No. 21 Porsche since the last SprintX round, over a month and a half ago at Circuit of the Americas, where the pair earned a second and a third place finish.

“I’m really looking forward to heading to one of my favorite tracks, VIR, for our second SprintX round of the year,” said Foley. “It’ll be a busy week with Michael competing in both Sprint and SprintX, but he’s up for the challenge. I’m excited to drive with him again and we’ll be trying to pick up right where we left off at Circuit of the Americas.”

The Track
After back to back street course weekends, the GT4 America Series returns to permanent road courses, beginning with one of the most beautiful tracks in North America. Located in Alton, Virginia, VIRginia International Raceway is considered one of the favorite tracks of sports car racing, offering 3.27 miles of flowing turns, two back straights, sweeping elevation changes and the iconic “Oak Tree” turn. The track opened in 1957, created by a group of men armed with nothing but a bulldozer. The track closed down less than 20 years later and reopened in 2000, transforming into a country club type atmosphere for track days and professional race events. Unlike street courses where spectators are stuck to their purchased grandstand seat, at VIR fans can wander around the rolling hills of Alton and view the track from almost any corner.

Flying Lizard Motorsports tested at the track earlier in the month, running both the Sprint and SprintX Porsche over the course of the two day test. While snow shorted the track time for the first day, the drivers and team made the most of the second day, getting valuable seat time and data for this weekend’s race.

The Engineering: From Team Engineer Jim Bell
VIR is one of those complete tracks. It has a little bit of everything and a lot of technical requirements. It has extreme braking, and mid speed and high speed transitions, all of which push the car and driver to perform on significant limits. Getting all of it right is tough, and the car requirement is tough. You have to have a stable platform, stable braking, the transition to go flat through the esses, go up around at the top, and through Oak Tree correct. What doesn’t appear technical is the combination of turns one, two, and three, but it is very technical. It requires the proper tuning of the car in transition and braking. The aero could help to some degree, but you want to be careful with it because too much will slow you down. You have to think about a lot of different things without taking away portions of the track. You can make a really nice car there, but it won’t be a really fast car. Getting a car that is quick is the game. It’s about time, not about speed. The reality is it’s somewhat easy to make the car nice for the driver. But you also want to make the car good enough for the driver and keep it quick.

Source.Flying Lizard Motorsports

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