Yorkshireman Guy Smith placed second in the Grand Prix of Baltimore yesterday (Sat 31 Aug) – a bizarre race from start to finish that was frequently interrupted by accidents and caution periods
Having qualified on the front row of the grid – the fourth time from five ALMS race starts – on the narrow two-mile “street” circuit, Dyson was adjudged by race officials to have jumped the second re-start – the race having been stopped for over an hour after a multi-car start line accident.
But with 15mins remaining in the race that was shortened by 47mins due to the numerous incidents making it the shortest in ALMS history, Smith snatched the lead after a storming late-race charge.
“I took over from Chris [Dyson] and ran second behind Lucas Luhr but was given a ‘stop and go’ penalty for Chris apparently ‘jumping’ the start.
“That dropped me 40 seconds back but then a full course yellow for an on-track incident brought the field together again.
“I managed to slip ahead in the closing stages for a couple of laps but Lucas had better traction out of turn one and got a run on me into the hairpin.
“I was driving at 11/10s to keep close to him in an attempt to snatch the win right at the death but the combination of some slower GT traffic delaying me and my rear tyres losing grip prevented me from making a final push at the end.
“It was a crazy race, from start to finish. It was frustrating just to miss out on the win but it was nice to be racing again.”
Beverley-born Smith was competing for the first time since posting second place in the Northeast Grand Prix almost two months ago. The 2003 Le Mans 24 Hour race winner and Team Principal Chris Dyson decided to “stand down” for most of the remaining 2013 rounds with an eye toward 2014 and beyond.
It is likely Smith, who is kept busy in his role as an Ambassador for Bentley, will only contest one more American Le Mans Series race this year, Virginia International Raceway on 5 October.
“It was really nice to be back racing the Dyson again at Baltimore while the Virginia race marks the final race for an LMP1 class sports-prototype, so it’ll be a little sad bringing this era of sportscar racing in the US to an end.
“However Rob and Chris Dyson are working very hard to come up with a plan for the 2014 season and that obviously influenced my decision to reduce my schedule with Dyson Racing so we can focus on the newly formed United SportsCar Racing series – a championship formed by the merger of the American Le Mans Series, which I’ve regularly competed in since 2006, and the Rolex Sports Car Series.
“Since the Lime Rock race, I have been very busy working with Bentley Motors as a brand ambassador and also carrying out some testing and development of their new GT3 race car which has been fun.”