Laguna Seca: Dyson Racing preview

Into The Night; Season's End Dyson Racing Looks For Victory At Laguna Seca POUGHKEEPSIE, NY, October 12, 2004 - The 2004 American Le Mans Series ends in the early night darkness Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The Dyson Racing...

Into The Night; Season's End
Dyson Racing Looks For Victory At Laguna Seca

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY, October 12, 2004 - The 2004 American Le Mans Series ends in the early night darkness Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The Dyson Racing team is looking for a second race victory to go with its triumph earlier this year at Canada's Mosport International Raceway and with the six pole positions the team's pair of Thetford/Norcold Lolas has taken in qualifying for the eight races run so far.

"I'd trade all of the pole positions for the three additional races we should have won," said team owner Rob Dyson. "It's nice to be the fastest in qualifying, but at the end of the day, it's race wins that count. If it weren't for minor technical problems or bad luck, I think that we'd have won at Mid-Ohio, Lime Rock and (Infineon Raceway at) Sears Point. But that's not what the official results say, and the fact is we didn't win those races."

Is Dyson disappointed with the team's performance this season?

"I'm frustrated with the results we achieved on the track, yes," Dyson said. "But I'm very encouraged with the progress we've made as a team this year, and with our technical development of the Lola. Our competitors at Champion have done a great job. The Audi R8 is a terrific race car, and after five years of competition it's very well developed - fast and reliable. At the end of last year we could almost match them on speed, but when you looked at the whole picture, there was still a gap between our car and theirs. Over the past year I think we've closed the gap, and more than you'd think just by looking at the race results.

"And I'm pleased with how we've developed from a personnel perspective over the season. Chris (Dyson) has continued to develop as a driver, and he's taken on a lot of the organizational responsibilities. James (Weaver), Butch (Leitzinger) and Andy (Wallace) are consummate pros, and they've all done a great job for us. And some of the changes we made last year on the organizational side have proved to be good ones. Overall, I'm encouraged about our prospects for 2005 in the ALMS. We'll be announcing our plans in the near future. But first we've got a race to run this weekend,"

California Nights

That race - The Audi Sports Car Championships - will mark a unique point in the nearly 50-year history of Laguna Seca. It's the first major race to finish after sunset. The four-hour event begins at 4pm PDT and ends at 8pm. With the sun setting at 6:30, the last 90 minutes will be run in dusk and darkness. And even in that period of time the track's ambient temperature will drop from its forecasted daytime high near 70 degrees to the high 40's, which may effect the cars' handling in the latter part of the race.

"It'll be interesting driving around that track in the night," said Chris Dyson. "Of course we do that twice a year anyway, at Sebring and the Petit Le Mans, so we've got the headlights pretty well figured out. But I still think it'll be pretty exciting turning into the Corkscrew at night. And I think that we'll have a very good battle with the Audis. I expect that they'll be strong in the slower corners, including Turn 2 that leads into the infield, and where we turn onto the pit straightaway. But Laguna Seca has some fast turns, too, and we'll be quite quick through those. I'd hate to spoil Audi's party by winning their race. Well, actually, I would really enjoy that."

"Night practice on Thursday will be important in finding how the cars are going to handle on a cooler track," noted Team Manager Randall Kelsey. "We know that we can reasonably expect to run them flat out for four hours, but we'll want to be sure that the handling will be good when the track is cool."

The Audi Sports Car Championships are being broadcast on NBC, on a one-day tape delay. The broadcast begins at 2pm EDT on Sunday, October 17.

-dr-

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