NO SHORT CUTS AS RYAN DALZIEL HEADS FOR BARBER
-RYAN AIMS FOR MORE GRAND-AM SUCCESS
-DALZIEL AFTER MUSTANG PROGRESS
THE PLOT: On-form Ryan Dalziel aims to keep his 2012 hot streak going with another devastating display with Starworks Motorsport.
Ryan, from Windermere in Florida, heads into the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Porsche 250 at Barber in Alabama on the back of a sensational class win in the first ever FIA World Endurance Championship round at Sebring, a stunning second in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and a podium in the Gulf 12 Hours at Abu Dhabi.
But Ryan, originally from Lanarkshire in Scotland, insists there will be no let-up in the hard work by him, Venezuelan team-mate Enzo Potolicchio and the Fort Lauderdale-based team in their bid to break into the top tier of Grand-Am prototypes.
Ryan will be on double duty again this weekend, as part of the Starworks Motorsport Mustang team alongside Enzo in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Barber 200. He is hoping to make real progress on the team’s debut at Daytona by pushing the Mustang into a consistent top-ten runner.
THE QUOTES: “We are still pretty motivated by the finish at Daytona, but we have continued to work hard even though we thought the car was pretty good there. We have had time to rebuild the car the way we want it.
“Daytona was a bit of a thrash just to make the car reliable, and you do things a little bit differently for the sprint races. We definitely expect good things from the car.
“But we have always struggled at Barber. We look forward to going there – we have had some decent results but we have not been fast. So we are aiming to put that right.
“We have to look at our performance on the high downforce tracks like Barber and Lime Rock. It is all about making sure we have a good enough package. Starworks’ strength has always been on the low downforce tracks, but I am confident we have made big gains.
“I think it has been an excellent start to the season – not just the Grand-Am program, but also Sebring in the WEC and, as drivers, we had a pretty successful time in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
“It has probably been the best start I have had since my Atlantic days, so there is a lot of motivation for me and the whole team. It is up to us to make sure we don’t lift off the throttle and to push even harder. You have to optimise seasons like this, and rolls like this. We haven’t let up in any department at Starworks.
“That includes the Mustangs. It was a disappointing show for us at Daytona. The program we felt would be the easiest has turned out to be the toughest. But we are working very hard.
“We were not happy with the performance at Daytona so we have made changes and we have tested the cars. Now we hope that, at Barber, we have made significant gains.
“We had four strong cars and a couple of top-ten finishes, but that is not where Starworks want to be. We want to be up front and winning races.
“I think Barber will be a step forward, but we know we need more time. As the season goes on we expect to be creeping towards the front. At this point, to be consistently in the top ten would be a step forward. Barber is not the strongest track for the Mustangs so we will be basing our performance against the other Mustangs out there. If we can narrow the gap, then we will have made big gains.”
THE SUB-PLOT: Ryan has been coaching team-mate Enzo and watched the Venezuelan develop over the past two years. He adds: “Sebring was the big jump for him. He made a huge gain throughout last year and did a really good job at Daytona. But, at Sebring, he went up another gear and that was by far the best I have seen him drive. Right now, I think Enzo is on top of his game and he needs to be because we are up against two full-time professionals in the Grand-Am. But, each time, he makes a step up.”