Mosport Run Gives Dyson Team Momentum as Dyson and Wallace Fit Le Mans Trial Between North American Tests
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY, May 4, 2004 -- Dyson Racing this week conducts its second major test since the opening of the 2004 American Le Mans Series season at Mosport International Raceway. The team will be concentrating on continued tire development and engine mapping.
"We won't be racing at Mosport until August," said Chris Dyson, the 2003 ALMS LMP 675 champion, who with co-driver Andy Wallace last season won his class and finished second overall at the legendary Canadian road circuit. "But it's a very demanding track, and a car that goes well here will probably go well anywhere we race. From a competitive standpoint, I like Mosport because it's a driver's circuit. Several of the turns basically flow from one into the next, so you have to have a good rhythm to go fast there. And it's also a special challenge because there's basically nowhere you can fly off the road without putting the car and yourself at extreme risk. And I guess I also like it because Mosport has several very high speed corners, so it's a track that plays to the specific strengths of our Thetford / Norcold Lolas. We all love it."
Last year's ALMS LMP 675 and LMP 900 classes have been combined into a single top prototype sportscar class, dubbed LMP-1. This year if Dyson and Wallace, and their teammates, James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger, want to win at Mosport, they'll have to beat the legendary Audi R8 head-to-head.
Weaver and Leitzinger accomplished that task last season at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California, and the Dyson team came close to beating the Audis in several other races in 2003. Last year the Dyson cars swept the front row in qualifying for the Mosport event. Team owner Rob Dyson is optimistic about the team's upcoming test. "Based on our testing at Mid-Ohio, I think our cars will be very competitive with the Audis at most of the tracks where we race," said Dyson. "Goodyear has worked hard to give us the tire that we'll need to compete with the Michelins that the Audis run, and the results from Mid-Ohio suggest that we're in pretty good shape in that area. How we do at Mosport this week should give us further indication."
ALMS Tests Bookend Chris Dyson's Le Mans Debut
For Chris Dyson, the test at Mid-Ohio was a preface to his first taste of the legendary Sarthe circuit, as he joined former Le Mans 24-hour race winner Jan Lammers in the cockpit of the Racing for Holland Dome S101-Judd for the April 26 Test Day in advance of the June 12-13 running of the legendary sportscar classic. The car's third driver is Japan's Katsumoto Kaneishi. The trio posted the seventh-fastest time of the day, while the second Racing for Holland entry, driven by Formula One drivers Justin Wilson and Ralph Firman and regular sportscar driver Tom Coronel was two spots back in ninth.
Andy Wallace, Dyson's ALMS teammate and a former Le Mans winner, also participated in the test day, setting the fifth-fastest time aboard the factory Zytek Le Mans prototype.
Dyson was thrilled with his first Le Mans experience. "Le Mans has always fascinated me and my first experience on the track was incredible. You pull out of the pits and there are aIl the famous corners unfolding right before your eyes: Tetre Rouge, Mulsanne, Indianapolis, the Porsche curves. Once you've done a few laps it's business as usual, but it's stillamazes mehow one day there's two-way traffic on the Mulsanne straight, and then there you are the next day, zooming along on the same road at 200 mph. It's the way the sport used to be:road racing heaven.
"I think it was an encouraging weekend for the whole Racing for Holland team. We've now shown that we have the pace on race rubber to compete with the top runners, and the Dome-Judd has proven reliability. Jan's done aphenomenal job putting the effort together, and I'm proud tohave been invited to join such a quality team.I'd put our two-car lineup up against anyone on the grid. We're going to be very competitive in June, and that's exciting."
Back from France, Dyson was immediately involved in his regular team's preparations for Mosport. "Our results from Mosport will have an important bearing not only on how we do when we race there this summer, but for the rest of the races on the schedule as well. We hope to learn a lot from our three days there this week."