For today's 55th running of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, we'll be shadowing the No. 16 Thetford/Norcold Porsche RS Spyder from the Dyson Racing stable.
Dyson regulars Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace will share the No. 16 with Andy Lally, in his first outing with the team. Wallace takes over the full- time seat occupied for 20 years by James Weaver, who retired with 100 career victories.
Chris Dyson and Guy Smith will man the No. 20 Dyson team car.
Sebring marks the maiden voyage for this first pair of "customer" Spyders acquired from Porsche over the winter by Dyson Racing, renewing a partnership that produced splendid results in the old IMSA GTP category. Dyson ran 962s from 1985 through 1991, posting a dozen victories, 19 podium finishes and four consecutive Porsche Cups.
Following the January 22-24 open tests at Sebring, Chris Dyson remarked, "The car ran perfectly right out of the box. The fundamentals of the car are quite good. Aerodynamically it is quite well balanced and the engine runs like a Swiss watch. It is typical Porsche, stem-to-stern..."
If qualifying is any indication, the LMP2 category will write the story of the race.
The No. 7 Penske Spyder nailed the LMP2 pole with a record 1:46.046 (125.606mph) flier. In close order just over a second back were the new Acura/ARX-01a, Wallace in the No. 16, and the second Acura. Then there was another second back to the No. 20 Dyson Spyder, the Fernandez Lola/B06-40 and the second Penske Spyder.
With the Dyson Spyders to challenge the Penske Porsches and the new Acuras showing a nice turn of speed, this race may turn into a 12-hour sprint.
Wallace is among an elite group of endurance racing drivers with victories at Le Mans, Petit Le Mans, the Daytona 24 and here at Sebring, where his 10 podium finishes are the most by any driver.
Teamed for years with Weaver, Butch Leitzinger is starting his 12th season with Dyson Racing. Sebring marks his 55th IMSA start.
Lally, the defending Grand-Am Rolex Series GT champion, is in his first start for Dyson Racing.