Prototype Sports Cars in Their Natural Habitat
ALTON, VA September 14, 2012 - Guy Smith was a front-row qualifier today for the inaugural American Le Mans Series VIR 240. The #16 Mazda-powered ModSpace/Thetford entry will start in second place for the four-hour race here in the pastoral hills of northern Virginia.
Chris Dyson qualified third in the #20 Dyson Racing entry driven by Michael Marsal and Mark Patterson this weekend. "I will start the 16 car and will only get points in that car, but with this being a four- hour race, I will be in reserve if needed on our sister car," explained Dyson. "I have to say it is like getting back with an old friend. I have not driven last year's car in over eight months, but credit goes to Vince Wood and the guys who have done a really good job of evolving the set up. Mike and Mark should have a great run tomorrow as they have been remarkably fast and consistent all weekend."
"The driver in me would have liked to been on pole, but we have a car that is comfortable to drive and will be benign on this high speed course tomorrow," said Smith. "We will make sure we have a clean race, execute on the pits stops and driver changes and think in terms of the championship." Dyson Racing is the reigning ALMS Champions. After eight races with two to go, the team is nine points out of first in the driver's championship and five out in the team championship. Dyson drivers occupy second through sixth in the championship tally.
Joining Dyson Racing this weekend for the first time is Mark Patterson in the #20 car. "I have raced here probably a dozen times in cars ranging from Star Mazda to Daytona Prototypes," noted Patterson. "But this is the first time in a P1 car. What an experience! It literally changes the track. It is a fast track, 170 mph on the back straight, but the car is good with good speed in the tough stuff." Michael Marsal will be co-driving with Patterson tomorrow. He won his first P1 victory two weekends ago in Baltimore and has finished on the podium in all his races for Dyson Racing. "I have never had more fun driving a race car than this weekend," added Marsal.
Returning to the Dyson line-up is Johnny Mowlem who will share driver duties with Dyson and Smith in the 16 car. "This is an amazing track. It is very fast and the speed differential between us and the slower cars through the Hurry Ups at the top of the hill is phenomenal - it is almost like an arcade game out there," commented Mowlem. "We are pulling close to four g's going through that sequence of corners, the quickest set of corners I have ever driven. It is like the famous Eau Rouge corner on Belgium's F1 track but having an extra Eau Rouge right after it."
Dyson Racing is running the Flybrid KERS hybrid system for the first time at VIR. Guy Smith noted that "it is in its early stages yet and we have just started developing the system. As a driver, it does not really feel any different than normal which is a compliment to the guys at Flybrid. I have not had to change my driving style or car set up to accommodate it, so that is good credit to them."
Saturday's VIR 240 is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET. ESPN2's broadcast begins at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 16. Full, live coverage starts tomorrow at 2:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3.
Source: Dyson Racing