Leitzinger Has High Hopes for Dyson Team in Upcoming American Le Series Events Braselton, GA - Butch Leitzinger has long been established as one of the top sports car racing drivers in America, with many race wins and championships to his credit.
Leitzinger Has High Hopes for Dyson Team in Upcoming American Le Series Events
Braselton, GA - Butch Leitzinger has long been established as one of the top sports car racing drivers in America, with many race wins and championships to his credit. So when the Pennsylvania driver says that the Dyson Racing team will have a strong shot at winning the next three races on the American Le Mans Series schedule, his statements carry credibility.
The Dyson team is running a pair of Lola EX257-AER/MG Prototypes in the full ALMS season. The design of the car, which chassis builder Lola debuted in 2001 and has been heavily developed and modified by the Dyson team since late in 2002, lends itself well to the characteristics of the road racing tracks that make up the next three races on the ALMS schedule.
After a three month schedule break so that teams could run the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the ALMS returns to action June 25-27 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, followed by a July 2-5 event at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. Neither track was on the 2003 ALMS schedule, so the Lola-MG will be making its debut at both.
The third event will be at California's Infineon Raceway July 16-18, the site of a victory last year for Leitzinger and co-driver James Weaver in the Lola-MG. All of the events are timed races of two hours and 45 minutes.
"I think Mid-Ohio is going to be one of the best tracks for the MG," said Leitzinger, from State College, Penn. "The change of direction that you have there, I mean you're always in a turn. The car is so light and nimble that it just launches from one turn to the next. Mid-Ohio will really highlight the good suits of the car."
Dyson Racing is based less than an hour from Lime Rock Park and has a long history of racing at its "home track," something that Leitzinger also feels will help the team. "Lime Rock is probably one of the most difficult tracks to learn because it's very high-speed and there are high consequences if you get something wrong there," he said. "There's not much runoff so you can be into the wall pretty easily. The circuit is amazing and it takes a little derring-do to get around."
And then there is Infineon Raceway, where last year Leitzinger and Weaver won a race-long duel with a pair of Audi R8 Prototypes, scoring the first ALMS overall race victory for Dyson Racing.
"The Goodyear tires that we've developed seem to work very well at that track," he said. "And the track layout really suits the car, with a series of left-right turns the entire way, and there's not really a straight there that's worth a name. This car explodes from one turn to the next on that track."
The Leitzinger/Weaver car, as well as the other Dyson Racing entry driven by Chris Dyson and Andy Wallace, will face strong competition for the overall race wins at all three tracks from the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 driven by JJ Lehto and Marco Werner. Since the Dyson win last July at Infineon, an Audi has taken the overall win in seven consecutive ALMS events.
"However much the track might suit our car, the Audi is always going to be in the thick of it," said Leitzinger. "You can certainly never count them out because they are probably the favorite wherever they go just because of their history and the level of preparation that they have.
"But I think that at places like Infineon, Mid-Ohio and Lime Rock, we're really going to be giving them all they can handle."
DYSON RACING NOTES: The Dyson team did not compete at Le Mans and has tested extensively during the break in the ALMS schedule since the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Tests have been held at both Mid-Ohio and Lime Rock, as well as at Mosport International Raceway near Toronto, site of an ALMS event on August 8.
The Dyson team will debut a new paddle shifter system at Mid-Ohio.
TV/TICKET NOTES: The Mid-Ohio and Infineon Raceway events will be televised live in North America by CBS Sports, while the Lime Rock race will have live coverage on SPEED Channel. All three races will be shown live in Europe on MotorsTV.
Ticket information for all three events is available online at www.americanlemans.com.