Flying Lizard Motorsport has revealed that it will run its new 2009-spec Porsche 911 GT3 RSR during the annual Winter Test at Sebring later this month.
The team is due to take delivery of two new cars from Germany ahead of the test, with the car being flown directly to a partner base in Atlanta, Georgia where they will be prepared for the start of the Sebring test on 26 January.
The #44 and #45 Flying Lizard Porsches will be run in factory white at the test, but both cars will appear in their familiar red and silver livery for the Sebring 12 Hours in March.
The Sebring Winter Test will reunite ALMS 2008 driver's champion Jorg Bergmeister with and Patrick Long, as the pair team together in the #45 Porsche for the 2009 season. Seth Neiman, Darren Law and Johannes van Overbeek – who will share the #44 car - will all attend the test.
"We're anxious to get the new cars and start work,” chief engineer Craig Watkins said. “2009 is our sixth consecutive year running Porsches. There are definitely advantages to being able to leverage the work we've done over the past seasons and we've put together a solid development program that we'll start implementing this week. Of course, you never know how a new car will perform until you actually get it on track when you can see how the improvements that have been made play out with the components that you're working with.
"Porsche has made some important changes to the cars. Aerodynamically, there is much more downforce in the front, which should help to resolve the understeer which dogged us in 2008. Also, to meet the stricter 2009 regulations on maximum car cockpit temperature, the car has been redesigned to support an air conditioning system.
"Other regulation changes require that the Porsches run 20 kilograms heavier than 2008, and we have a minimum 15mm gurney (wicker) requirement and a 5mm higher ride height than 2008. Just a few new variables can combine to make a significantly different car experience, so this three-day test will be critical in helping us start to realise the potential of the 2009 Porsche."
Amongst the entry for the Sebring test, no fewer than ten GT2 teams are set to hit the track and chief strategist Thomas Blam said it would be a good chance for the team to see how it shapes up against its rivals for the coming year.
"One of the benefits of the test is getting a chance to see the guys you will race against during the year," he said. "This will be our first time seeing the new BMW from Rahal Letterman Racing. Also, the Corvette entry is back in GT2: they were very quick at Petit Le Mans in 2008, so we'll see what they have this year.
"In terms of Porsches, at Farnbacher Loles Racing Wolf Henzler and Dirk Werner will certainly be formidable competition. At this time, no Ferraris are yet entered for the test, so it's a bit difficult to judge yet what improvements they've made this year."