DYSON RACING AIMS TO KEEP UP CHAMPIONSHIP CHASE AT NEW ENGLAND GRAND PRIX Braselton, Ga. - It has been more than a month since Dyson Racing's historic day in the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio. Not only did Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver give...
DYSON RACING AIMS TO KEEP UP CHAMPIONSHIP CHASE AT NEW ENGLAND GRAND PRIX
Braselton, Ga. - It has been more than a month since Dyson Racing's historic day in the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio. Not only did Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver give Dyson its third ALMS victory and not only did the AER-powered No. 16 Lola beat both Champion Racing Audis. But Dyson's second entry, the No. 20 Lola of Andy Wallace and Chris Dyson, came in second for the team's first 1-2 finish in the ALMS.
Now the Dyson gang heads for home and Lime Rock Park, site of the New England Grand Prix. Heading into Round 4 of the 2005 ALMS, the Dyson team and its drivers are firmly entrenched in the series' LMP1 championship standings.
"It was a great result for the team and it's given us a tremendous boost," Chris Dyson said of the Mid-Ohio result. "We're in the hunt for the championship, and it's our intention to get out in front and stay there in the next few races. No one has come down from the buzz. Our goal as a team is to win races and win championships."
It could be close between the New York-based Dyson squad and their colleagues at Champion Racing, which is coming off a pretty big win of its own, the overall title in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. As it stands, Wallace trails Champion teammates JJ Lehto and Marco Werner by 3 points. Leitzinger and Weaver are another 2 points back.
In the battle for the P1 team championship, Champion leads Dyson by 4 points as the ALMS enters its critical July stretch with three races in five weeks.
"We're really happy for Dave Maraj and Champion Racing to do so well at Le Mans," said Dyson, who is 6 points behind Lehto and Werner. "We haven't had the distraction of Le Mans and have been able to focus on our North American effort. It would be tremendous to win the race (at Lime Rock), and that's our goal."
In his mind, Dyson believes part of the reason for the team's strong start lies in its switch to Michelin tires for 2005. The team has spent a good deal of time rebalancing the car on the new Michelins, Dyson said, and has learned more and more about the new rubber in each of the three previous races of 2005.
"Michelin is at the top of the game in sports car racing, and we expected to be right on pace," he added. "With Michelin, we're in a better position to contend for wins and championships. We were expecting to win Road Atlanta and went to Sebring thinking we had a pretty good chance. We had the car to beat at Atlanta but couldn't get it done."
Getting it done at Lime Rock would be a bigger boost for Dyson Racing, and team members likely will have a good part of New England cheering them on. The team's shop is in nearby Poughkeepsie, N.Y., barely an hour away.
"We treat Lime Rock as probably the most important race on our calendar," Dyson said. "Everyone on the team is at home every night. Family and friends are literally an hour away. Support is tremendous in the local community. It puts a little more pressure on us, but I think we can deliver.
The New England Grand Prix, Round 4 of the American Le Mans Series, is set for 3 p.m. July 4 at Lime Rock Park. SPEED Channel will provide live coverage, along with American Le Mans Series Radio at www.americanlemans.com.