CHRIS DYSON: A DRIVEN MAN
Chris Dyson is a very driven man. Both in and out the cockpit, Dyson exudes passion and professionalism in his unique position as head of Dyson Racing and as one of its drivers in the No. 20 BP Lola-Mazda. Flat out, even in the offseason, the 31-year-old still had time to speak with Lola-Group.com this week on his teams 2009 season and also looking ahead impatiently towards 2010.
Looking at the season as a whole, how satisfied were you in the progress made with the Lola-Mazda package in 2009?
"We were really delighted with the performance gains we saw throughout 2009. We always knew the package had potential, and we saw this quite early in the season. By the end of the season we had the fastest car in our category, and that was very satisfying - especially given the strength of our competition in the form of the Acura and Porsche Spyder teams."
What is it specifically that attracts Dyson to Lola sports cars?
"The cars are always fundamentally extremely well conceived at the cutting edge of technology. From a safety standpoint, there's no other sports car constructor who builds better cars. From Martin Birrane on down, everyone at Lola is massively committed to achieving sports car racing success, and we wholeheartedly share their philosophy. It's a wonderful partnership."
You sampled Le Mans for the first time in a Lola this year. You must have ambitions to bring the Dyson team to La Sarthe?
"I had a great experience with the RML Mazda team at Le Mans. We were very competitive throughout the event in all conditions. We remain highly interested in taking our team to Le Mans, but we also recognize that all the pieces need to be in place for a proper effort. It is a logistical and financial commitment that requires full commitment from sponsors and we are always weighing the timing of taking our team to Le Mans. It's a fantastic event. For the time being, however, our priority for 2010 is achieving success in the American Le Mans Series."
Do you believe in the Coupe concept for modern day LMPs and do you think they have a clear future?
"I certainly hope so! There's no more evocative and defining machinery racing anywhere in the world than the current LMP coupes. I grew up during the IMSA GTP era so I'm inherently biased towards closed-top prototypes. I think they have an amazing resonance with both manufacturers and fans alike. The following for the Lola-Mazda is far beyond any other car I've driven. The cars look like they are doing 200mph sitting still, and that for me is the essence of a racing car. I think it would be foolish for the organizers to not embrace the coupe concept for the long-term as the shapes of these cars make them truly unique in the world of motorsport and ensure that our style of racing is instantly recognizable. Thankfully, Lola understands this quite clearly."