Dyson, Corvette Teams Sebring test 2003-02-02

DYSON, CORVETTE TEAMS TEST AT SEBRING AS 12 HOURS DRAWS CLOSER SEBRING, Fla. (February 2, 2003) -- The Dyson Racing Team and Corvette Racing were the latest American Le Mans Series teams to conduct winter testing at Sebring International Raceway...

DYSON, CORVETTE TEAMS TEST AT SEBRING AS 12 HOURS DRAWS CLOSER

SEBRING, Fla. (February 2, 2003) -- The Dyson Racing Team and Corvette Racing were the latest American Le Mans Series teams to conduct winter testing at Sebring International Raceway in preparation for the Mar. 12-15 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

The two teams turned many laps of the 3.77-mile circuit on both Saturday and Sunday, taking advantage of sunny and warm weather conditions to fine-tune their cars as well as test Goodyear tires for the demanding task of racing for 12 hours.

The Dyson team had its two Lola EX257-MG machines on hand that will compete in the LMP 675 class for smaller, less-powerful Prototype race cars. Drivers James Weaver, Butch Leitzinger, Chris Dyson and Chad Block were putting the two cars through their paces.

Corvette Racing, which won the GTS class last year at Sebring, was also testing two cars. Defending ALMS GTS champion Ron Fellows was joined by Johnny O'Connell and Franck Freon in the #3 Corvette C5R, while Kelly Collins, Oliver Gavin and Andy Pilgrim piloted the #4 during the test.

Though it is one of America's most successful sports car racing teams, the Dyson team has never scored an overall win in the Sebring classic. Both Weaver and Leitzinger feel that the team has its best chance ever, even though its cars are classified differently than the more-powerful LMP 900 machines.

"This is a very fast car, but we've had reliability problems," said Leitzinger, from State College, Penn. "The team has worked really hard to develop the car and find out why things were breaking, rather than just replacing what broke. This year, we feel that we are showing up with a chance to really accomplish something in the race. (Team owner) Rob Dyson has given us the tools to win."

Leitzinger had flown to Sebring from Phoenix, where he had been assisting American Spirit Racing in a test of its Riley & Scott MkIIIC-Lincoln at Firebird International Raceway. The ASR team will debut in the ALMS in 2003, using a car similar to one that Dyson raced in 2001. Leitzinge helped develop the car when Dyson raced it.

The Corvette team, which started prior to the 1998 season, had had fast cars but nothing but bad luck at Sebring until winning last year. "This had been our Bermuda Triangle," said Fellows. "Now that we've won it, we need to win it again."

The Intersport team had been at Sebring earlier in the week, also testing Goodyears. Intersport, with LMP 675 class champion Jon Field, won the class in last year's Sebring event. No more ALMS teams will test at Sebring during February, but Team Bentley and the Jim Matthews/Riley & Scott Racing entries will test in early March.

The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will be televised live from flag-to-flag by the SPEED Channel, with coverage beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Mar. 15. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage of both qualifying and the race available online at www.americanlemans.com.

Ticket information for the event is available online at www.sebringraceway.com or by calling (863) 655-1442, or toll-free in Florida (800) 626-RACE.

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , James Weaver , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Franck Freon , Andy Pilgrim , Rob Dyson , Chad Block , Jon Field , Oliver Gavin , Jim Matthews , Chris Dyson
Teams Corvette Racing , Dyson Racing