Pumpelly ready to join Flying Lizard
Special to Highlands TodaySpecial to Highlands Today
Published: January 15, 2013
Published: January 15, 2013
Spencer Pumpelly may look back on 2013 as a landmark year. Not only is he making the jump from TRG to Flying Lizard Motorsports, but he's doing it as a new dad.
A bid for the GT Challenge championship in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón and a new baby is already a full plate, but Pumpelly will continue to add more to his 2013 schedule.
This past ALMS season was a trying one for Pumpelly. After nearly winning the GTC drivers' title in 2011 with TRG and Duncan Ende, a potential championship slipped away from him again in 2012.
"Some of it was self-inflicted like the penalties that put us laps behind at VIR," Pumpelly said. "Other times it was bad luck like when we got hit in the Turn 1 melee at Baltimore causing us early damage. It was often frustrating, but I try to stay positive. We always had fast race cars, and third in the drivers' championship isn't bad considering I missed the Laguna round. TRG did take home three wins in 2012, which is no small feat considering how close the GTC competition is."
Still, something said it was time for a change. In the closing weeks of 2012, ALMS powerhouse Flying Lizard Motorsports announced that Pumpelly will drive its No. 44 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup as the team transitions from GT competition to GTC in 2013. A smart choice for the Lizards considering Pumpelly's knack for podium finishes in the hotly contested GTC category, which has put him achingly close to a championship the past two seasons; but a hard choice for Pumpelly, who ends a lengthy relationship with TRG.
"I have had a great six-year relationship with TRG," Pumpelly said. "Kevin and Debra Buckler, and all the guys at TRG, have been a big part of my success over the past seasons. Hopefully, we can work together again in the future. It will be odd racing against those guys for sure, and I hope they have continued success. I think after six years, old habits will be hard to break so I imagine I'll catch myself walking into their trailer by mistake on more than one occasion."
Walking into a veteran organization with credentials like Flying Lizard could be an intimidating prospect for some, but Pumpelly's previous experience with the team has him fully focused on supporting its bid for a GTC championship. The long-time Porsche pilot believes he can bring something to the table for the experienced team.
"Having driven with them (Flying Lizard Motorsports) at Le Mans the past two years, I know they are a professional group with a ton of experience in their organization," Pumpelly said. "Making the transition to GTC means new challenges for everyone, and I think with my GTC experience I can help make it easier. I am confident they are up to the task and can't wait to get started."
Driving for Lizards will be one more chapter in Pumpelly's novel of Porsche rides. Since beginning his professional racing career in 2011, the Atlanta resident has piloted Porsches in the ALMS, Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. With each ride, Pumpelly becomes more synonymous with the German marque. He will, in fact, get behind the wheel of two additional Porsches in 2013.
"In GRAND-AM, I am starting the season by driving the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche in the Rolex 24," Pumpelly said. "Beyond that, nothing has been announced but I should have some exciting things to come in the Rolex Series. In the Continental series, I will be racing all season in the BGB GS Porsche, co-driving with my good friend Dr. Jim Norman. Between the series, 2013 is shaping up to be my busiest year yet."
Unfortunately for Mrs. Pumpelly, Spencer's "busiest season yet" comes on the heels of welcoming the couple's first child into the world. Ryder Stuart Pumpelly was born Nov. 28 and is the couple's first child. How will the new bundle of joy change the rhythm of a race season?
"Driving in the ALMS and GRAND-AM means a lot of time on the road away from family which can be tough," Pumpelly admitted. "It's even tougher now knowing I could be missing all types of firsts. It also limits the number of races my wife Lindsay will be able to attend. Don't worry, when I am at the track I will be focused as always and I don't plan to slow down one bit, but I will miss the little guy. However, coming home will be that much more fun."
New race teams and a new baby? is there anything else 'new' we can expect from Pumpelly this year? He's hoping his first ALMS championship trophy.