RYAN DALZIEL – LE MANS WINNER
THE PLOT: Endurance star Ryan Dalziel completed a stunning hat-trick with a stunning performance to take an LMP2 class victory in the prestigious Le Mans 24-Hour race.
Ryan was in imperious form with a string of hot laps and treble stints to guide the Fort Lauderdale-based Starworks Motorsport HPD ARX03b car to the winners’ podium.
Ryan, originally from Lanarkshire in Scotland, got the drive the two dream stints – as the sun set and then rose over the iconic La Sarthe circuit in France.
Fellow Brit Tom Kimber-Smith started the race and was soon making progress. Venezuelan Enzo Potlicchio also produced heroics as the team battled the superior speed of the rival Nissans.
Ryan – who lives in Windermere, Florida – then grabbed the lead early in his night shift and the team were able to build their advantage until they were more than a lap clear of their LMP2 rivals.
Ryan, Tom and Enzo kept consistent lap times as they broke into the top ten overall.
And Ryan got the honour of bringing the car home on its final lap in a sensational seventh place overall and first in LMP2.
Now Ryan can proudly add Le Mans winner to his CV alongside his Daytona 24 and 12 Hours of Sebring victories.
“Once you start seeing all the flags it becomes reality that you have completed the Le Mans 24 Hours. Then you realise that you have won – that is when you start welling up. There were definitely a few tears. It brought back the same emotions as at Daytona and Sebring, but for different reasons. This was a special one because I don’t think anyone thought we could come and do it on away turf.
“But we did it. People thought we won at Sebring because we had local knowledge and the other cars broke down. This proves we have the right teamwork.
It was an amazing moment when we got the trophies.
“We came here with an unbelievable package and everyone worked so, so hard. There is no weak link in our team. Other teams may be faster or have faster drivers, but no one puts it all together as well as we do.
“It will take a while to sink in. At the moment I am too tired to think about it.
“It was an amazing moment when we got the trophies. I have never been on a podium with so many people in front of you. The Le Mans fans are super-passionate and they do not have favourites. They love everybody.
“They were chanting Starworks and chanting our names. It was nice to see how emotional Peter Baron was – I was been with him for a number of years. His biggest accomplishment was finishing runner up here in GT in 2003. He always wanted to come back as team owner and win it. First time back and we did it for him.
“The car finished the race the way it started. We could almost pack up the car and ship it off to Silverstone. It was a really good job from everybody – the crew did a great job and the drivers did really well to keep it in one piece. Honda have given us a very robust car.
“This is the biggest win of my career. There is Le Mans and everyone in the world knows what Le Mans is. Then there is Sebring, Daytona, Nurburgring, Dubai and races like that. They are all very good, but they are one tier below Le Mans. They will always be second to Le Mans. And now I can say I am a Le Mans winner and there not too many people who can say that.”