BRASELTON, Ga.- A smaller car? No problem. A smaller engine? Not a difficulty. The combination of a successful, experienced racing team, world-class driving talent and a fast, new race car design gives the Dyson Racing Team confidence that it...
BRASELTON, Ga.- A smaller car? No problem. A smaller engine? Not a difficulty.
The combination of a successful, experienced racing team, world-class driving talent and a fast, new race car design gives the Dyson Racing Team confidence that it can score the overall win as the American Le Mans Series season resumes with the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta this weekend at Road Atlanta.
The Dyson team is one of the most successful American sports car racing teams of the past decade and team owner Rob Dyson has made the commitment to continue that success this season in ALMS competition. James Weaver of England and Butch Leitzinger of State College, Pa., will co-drive the #16 Dyson entry while Chris Dyson of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and Andy Wallace of England will share the #20 entry.
Dyson expects his two cars to challenge for the overall win in every race this season, despite the fact that they are running in the LMP 675 class for Prototypes that are smaller and less-powerful than the Audis, Panoz and other marques in the LMP 900 class.
Dyson's weapon of choice is the Lola EX257-MG, popularly known as the MG-Lola. Rob Dyson noticed the performance and speed of the car in some races and decided to take a step back in order to move forward, retiring his venerable Riley & Scott MkIII from the LMP 900 class and purchasing an MG-Lola for the LMP 675 class late in 2002.
After a few races to get used to the new car, the Dyson team had its shining moment in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, the 2002 ALMS season finale. Weaver qualified third overall, passed one of the Audis early in the race and stayed near the top of the order. A few hours into the 1,000-mile endurance race, the car had a malfunction and caught fire, ending the run but sending a clear message that Dyson Racing and the MG-Lola were ready to race.
Dyson then commited to succeeding in the ALMS for 2003, buying a second MG-Lola and signing former drivers Leitzinger and Wallace to join Weaver and rising star Chris Dyson. During the winter, the team tested extensively, doing more development work on the car. The team scored a class win at Sebring after both cars experienced problems, but more testing since then, including sessions at Road Atlanta, has the team ready to challenge in the Chevy Grand Prix..
"The team has worked really hard to develop the car and find out why things were breaking, rather than just replacing what broke," said Leitzinger. "This year, we feel that we are showing up with a chance to really accomplish something. Rob has given us the tools to win."
"I'm sure if we won one of these races overall, we wouldn't have too many friends," said Wallace with a laugh. "But that's racing, isn't it? We really do need to get some results. We've been working hard since Sebring and I really think we're getting somewhere."
Road Atlanta is the only track holding two races for the American Le Mans Series in 2003, with the sixth annual Petit Le Mans to be run Oct. 16-18. The track is offering a special two-event ticket discount, as well as individual tickets to both events. Ticket information is available online at www.roadatlanta.com or by calling 1-800-849-RACE (7223).
The Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta will be televised live in North America by CBS Sports and the American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have full coverage of the race, as well as practice and qualifying sessions, online at www.americanlemans.com.