Series spotlight - Chris Dyson

DYSON'S DELIGHT: AT HOME IN LOLA COUPE It's a little like being home, Chris Dyson said. And it's not just because he now has a roof over his head. For the first time since 2006, Dyson Racing is back with Lola in the American Le Mans Series as ...

DYSON'S DELIGHT: AT HOME IN LOLA COUPE

It's a little like being home, Chris Dyson said. And it's not just because he now has a roof over his head. For the first time since 2006, Dyson Racing is back with Lola in the American Le Mans Series as the team announced the entry of two Mazda-powered Lola B09/86 coupes in LMP2 for the 2009 season.

It is the first time Dyson Racing has fielded a closed-top prototype in the Series although some of the team's greatest moments came in the 1980s with Porsche's 962 GTP entry. Dyson tested a Lola-Mazda coupe at Sebring International Raceway earlier this week with the team planning for more track time at the Series' annual Winter Test on January 26-28.

"Truthfully there's almost no adjustment," said Chris Dyson, driver as well team VP and Sporting Director. "When I first took the car out, the out lap was a little unusual. Once you go out of the pits and start a serious run there is little difference. Lola has done a really good job with the car and aerodynamically it's probably the best I've driven.

"I feel really confident with how we've progressed in the offseason program," he added. "We started a little late but the main components of the program have been running for a couple of years. Everyone is very favorable with the car and the crew feels comfortable. So far the running we have done is very constructive."

From 2002-2006, Dyson Racing campaigned Lola prototypes in both prototype classes in the American Le Mans Series. It won nine times in class with Lola's AER-powered EX257 including five overall victories.

"(The new P2 coupe) applied the lessons learned from previous cars," said Chris Dyson, who won the 2003 LMP675 title in a Lola. "We have a huge book on the technical details of the Lola family of cars over the last several years. The (Lola-Mazda) package has shown some real promising moments.

"Mazda had made the commitment to the Lola coupe platform because it was providing a boost forward," he continued. "It was a decision based on the performance and marketing appeal. You can't overestimate how evocative coupes are to the enthusiasts and laymen alike. When you see a closed-top car it takes your breath away. It looks like it is going 200 mph standing still. Coupes really occupy a special place in a fan's heart. They have a special place in my heart for certain. Our fans I think have a greater appreciation of our history than a lot of other groups. This really does make for a terrific show."

Dyson Racing's prototype is one of 14 cars entered for the Winter Test. Spectators can purchase single-day passes for $10 per day. Overnight camping is not allowed, and the paddock will be closed to the public.

The 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida is the opening event of the 2009 American Le Mans Series. America's greatest sports car race is scheduled for March 18-21.

-credit: alms

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