Coming just a few short weeks since Porsche announced it would no longer be supporting development of the 997 RSR Flying Lizard Motorsport announced that their chief engineer, Craig Watkins, is retiring from the team. Considered one of the top Porsche race engineers in the world, Watkins has been chief engineer at Flying Lizard since 2003 and helped form their first professional season in 2004.
"It's been an amazing run with the Lizards in GT racing," said Watkins. "It's hard to believe it's been almost ten years and more than 100 races! Now it's time to take a break and I'm looking forward to spending more with my family. I know I can't leave racing completely, so look for me at Porsche club races here on the west coast."
From his family's first Porsche (1958 356A) to his first racecar (a highly modified 1958 VW beetle) to his own first Porsche (1973 911T), Watkins has been engineering and racing cars since he was a teenager. He began off-road racing in 1976 and competed in a Class10 car in the SCORE series from 1983 to 1990. Racing with Greg Aronson, Watkins won nearly every major off-road race including the Parker Dam 400, the Baja 1000 and the Frontier 500; he won the SCORE points championship in 1987. In the early 90's Watkins began racing in local Porsche club events, where he met driver Johannes van Overbeek who would introduce him to World Challenge GT racing and the Lizards. Watkins has been Flying Lizard chief engineer since its inception in 2003.
Flying Lizard in 2013
No announcement yet on who will replace Watkins or what to expect from Flying Lizard in the 2013 season. Our best guess at this point is we'll see the team in what can best be described as an "Audi like schedule" where they compete at Le Mans, Sebring and one other longer endurance race while we wait to see what happens with the Grand-AM/ALMS merger and Porsche's plans for 2014. Hopefully, we'll know for sure in the coming weeks once we get a formal announcement.
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