Event Preview: Flying Lizard Motorsports at the Long Beach Grand Prix

5 April 2019 GT4 America

It’s home race week for Flying Lizard Motorsports as the GT4 America Championship prepares for round three of the Sprint championship at the Long Beach Grand Prix. The California-based team will return to the temporary street circuit and three day festival of speed with Michael Dinan and the No. 21 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.

“We always love coming to Long Beach,” said Program Manager Darren Law. “It’s great to be able to drive down the coast from our Sonoma shops and race in front of our California fans. It’s Michael’s first time on the circuit, and we’re looking forward to the warm welcome our fans will give him. The Porsche will be strong here, and it’s sure to be a competitive weekend.”

The GT4 Clubsport will debut its 2019 livery at Long Beach, having been delivered to the team just days before the back to back events of Circuit of the Americas and the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg last month. The car will feature a dark blue fade on the lower half of the silver body, with the iconic Flying Lizard shield on the front of the car in light blue. Fans will be able to see the car up close beginning with Thunder Thursday at Pike Outlets in downtown Long Beach, Thursday, April 11 from 6:00PM to 10:00PM. This free event kicks off the Long Beach Grand Prix every year, with live music, GT4 America cars on display, motocross demonstrations, and an autograph session with the drivers in the series.

Flying Lizard Motorsports has raced at the Grand Prix of Long Beach seven times, winning in 2009 and 2010, as well as clinching seven podiums.

The Format

Round three of the GT4 America Sprint championship will depart from the standard double header weekend and feature one 50 minute race, to be held on Sunday, April 14 at 10:00AM Pacific. Due to the amount of series on track, including the IndyCar Series and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, track time for all competitors will be fairly limited. GT4 America competitors will receive 75 minutes of track time before qualifying on Saturday morning.

The Drivers

Michael Dinan, who made his street racing debut last month in rounds one and two of the Sprint championship at the Grand Prix will be the sole driver of the No. 21 Porsche. His SprintX co-driver Robby Foley will be on hand as the coach for the event. The pair will race together again later this month at the Virginia International Raceway SprintX double header.

The Track

The Long Beach Grand Prix celebrates its 45th running this season, currently the longest running major street race in North America. Attracting over 200,000 people each year, the downtown streets of the city are shutdown to host a three day festival of speed, live music, and food. The 1.968 temporary street circuit runs along the water, around the Long Beach convention center, and through the heart of downtown, setting the scene for a picturesque backdrop to the racing action.

The Engineering: From Team Engineer Jim Bell

Long Beach is a funny place. It’s a generality that with most street courses where you qualify is extremely important because this race can become a parade very quickly. It’s very difficult to pass here, and based on the varying speeds of the competitors, it can be a big move of chance as well.

The setup of the car is important, but not as important as qualifying well. You need to set yourself up in a position where you can stay ahead of the mess and defend your position, while also having the speed and skill to get by the back markers. If you don’t qualify well, you’ll defend the entire race.

Long Beach isn’t a circuit with a lot of grip, and the track is a moving target because of varying temperatures, as well as the varying types of rubber that will be set down over the course of the weekend. There are several circuits out there, many using a different tire manufacturer. When a tire degrades and starts to pick up the rubber put down on track by other competitors, and that alters your own tire’s grip at mid-life. For this race, setting your tire temperatures and pressers is critical to working with these varying factors.

Tune-In

Round three of the GT4 America championship will stream live for free at www.gt4-america.com beginning Sunday, April 14 at 10:00AM Pacific, and fans local to the event can purchase tickets to attend in person via gplb.com.


Photo Credit: Justin Cummings

About Flying Lizard Motorsports

Based out of Sonoma, California, Flying Lizard Motorsports is one of the most iconic sports car teams in motorsports, having celebrated six driver and team championships, as well as competed internationally at the 24 Hours of Le Mans eight times. The team currently races in Pirelli World Challenge, Porsche Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA, and Porsche Club of America.

The Lizards burst on the American Le Mans Series scene in 2004, competing in the GT class until 2012. In 2013, the team moved to the GTC class, still competing in legendary events such as the 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Daytona. In 2014, the team expanded its program to include running two Audi R8 LMS in the TUDOR Championship, and in 2015, again expanded the program to include two Porsches in Porsche Club racing. Flying Lizard closed out the season with a dominating win at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill with Toyo Tires, a win they repeated in 2016, 2017, and 2018. For more information, visit lizardms.com. Flying Lizard Motorsports has proven to be a championship contender no matter the race series or race car.