Daytona - January 26, 2009

After a great Daytona victory celebration, Jörg, who’s my teammate full time this year in the Flying Lizard #45 car, and I are headed straight down to Sebring for the ALMS winter test. It’s a little bit of an endurance race in itself going from 24 hours in the cockpit straight down to Sebring and straight into three days of testing for my full time gig this year.

I am elated to be with the Flying Lizard guys. They’ve been an extended version of family to me after driving against them for most of my GT career but also driving with them in ’05, ’06, ’07, part time. I’ve had some great one-off races with them at Le Mans, Daytona, Long Beach, and Detroit. Seth and his staff run the operation so professionally but with a family-like spin. In the last few years, they have done an amazing job of branding a Flying Lizard culture. There is a cult-like following at the ALMS races and I know many of the PCA members and readers of this blog have caught that buzz and it’s great to be around it. It makes a difference when you feel the support of the people and the fans. Beside all of the extra curricular assets, they just do a really good job of preparing the cars. No expense and no time are spared and that’s something that gives you the ultimate confidence heading into a season of the American Le Mans Series.

I think GT racing this season is going to be the place to be, with BMW returning and the addition of GM and their Corvette program joining the GT2 ranks. There’s a huge history in the ALMS between Porsche and BMW as many readers know – it was a battle royal in the 2000 and 2001 seasons between the AJR 911s and the PTG and Schnitzer GTR M3s.

After the three days of the winter test I will take part in a tire development test for the IMSA Challenge, which is another great part of my role as a factory driving—developing other formulas and other tires. After doing all of the development for the Rolex GT tire for this season with Pirelli and guys like Roland Kussmaul and Alwin Springer, my first extracurricular project on the development side for 2009 will be working with the IMSA Challenge organizers and PMNA specifically on putting the final touches on their spec tire for the upcoming season. It’s cool that Mr. Kussmaul will again hang out and run the day—his decades of experience hold a huge part of Porsche’s Motorsport and road car success, as many of you history buffs know.

Thursday, after the day in the car testing with Alex Job who will be supplying the car, I go straight to Stuttgart for dinner with our Motorsport boss, Mr. Kristen, and my other factory driver colleagues. The next morning, we become property of Porsche’s fitness team for what a few unnamed teammates of mine call “fitness boot camp.” They will shuffle us all onto an airplane, headed for the warm climate of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. We’ll be there for ten days, with an average of seven hours per day of fitness work. It lends itself to an extreme environment, but we always manage to weave a bit of fun into the process. I’ll tell you more about that in my next post.

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