Guy Smith race report

Sebring 12 Hour

· Yorkshireman claims sixth place in opening Sebring “marathon” – but second highest American Le Mans Series “regular” team

#016 Dyson Racing Team Lola B09/86: Guy Smith, Jay Cochran
#016 Dyson Racing Team Lola B09/86: Guy Smith, Jay Cochran

Photo by: Rainier Ehrhardt

Guy Smith got his American Le Mans Series title quest off to an impressive start when the Yorkshireman finished an excellent sixth in the season-opening Sebring 12 Hours last Saturday (19 March).

The 36-year-old from Beverley, together with American co-drivers Chris Dyson and Jay Cochran, was the second best placed regular ALMS team in their G-OIL sponsored Lola Mazda Coupé – the 1,238-mile race being the longest on the nine-race ALMS calendar which featured many of the best European-based manufacturer “factory” teams.

Smith and the Dyson Racing team began the race at the 3.7 mile, 17-corner Sebring International Raceway from 10th place on the 55-car grid concentrating on bringing their British-built Lola home to the finish and score vital championship points for their title assault.

Guy climbed aboard for the first time over 3½ hours in to the race with the Lola placed ninth but was up to fifth place two hours later and handed over to co-driver Dyson, fourth, with 3½ hours to run in the ModSpace and Construct Corps supported Lola.

The car’s third co-driver Cochran remained fourth until 2½hrs to the chequered flag but slipped to fifth then sixth with 120mins remaining. Smith jumped back in the car with 100mins remaining to take sixth place at the chequered flag – the car having run completely trouble-free throughout the 12 hours.

Guy commented: “It was a great result for us. It is always difficult coming to a 12 Hour race and just to get a finish at Sebring is a big result and so to get a chunk of points towards the ALMS Championship, which was always our aim, makes the entire team very happy.

“Due to the length of this race, extra points are awarded, so that’s an additional bonus. I was really happy with the way the team performed. They worked very well at our pit-stops and planned excellent strategy throughout the race which was run in ambient temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The competition was incredibly strong. Having the European teams at Sebring was good for us as it allowed Dyson to pit ourselves against the best ‘factory’ outfits. They were racing for their championship {ILMC] and had to always remain focussed on the fact we were racing in the ALMS ‘teams’ race with the ALMS title forming the bigger picture.”

The second ALMS event, a two-hour race around the streets of Long Beach in California, is staged on 16 April – a week before Smith drives a Lola Coupé Toyota in a one-day test at Le Mans in preparation for this year’s 24 Hour race on 11-12 June.

“I’ve another week here in Florida, going up to Orlando with Alicia and the kids, just to relax a little before going home and then back out to the States for Long Beach, then the Le Mans test day,” added Smith.

Smith sampled REBELLION Racing’s Lola for the first time earlier this month at Paul Ricard. “We had a very productive test and made progress. Ergonomics and driver comfort are better than last year’s car and it’s much nicer to drive. Whilst we have a little less top end power with the 2011 engines due to imposed engine restrictions, the difference feels marginal from the driver’s perspective."

-source: guy smith PR

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Guy Smith , Chris Dyson , Jay Cochran
Teams Dyson Racing
Tags alms, dyson racing, guy smith, sebring