Driffield's Guy Smith slipped one place to fifth in the American Le Mans Series after spectacularly crashing out of the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park on Saturday (12 Jul) -- the Yorkshireman's first series non-finish since October ...
Driffield's Guy Smith slipped one place to fifth in the American Le Mans Series after spectacularly crashing out of the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park on Saturday (12 Jul) -- the Yorkshireman's first series non-finish since October 2006.
Smith received cuts and bruises in the heavy impact which totally destroyed the Porsche.
Smith's American co-driver Chris Dyson started the 165-minute race from seventh place on the LM P2 class grid at the 1.53-mile, eight-corner circuit in Connecticut.
Guy took over the wheel of the Thetford/Norcold Dyson Racing Porsche Spyder after 65mins and was up to fourth place overall, fourth in class within minutes of rejoining the race and still on the lead lap.
But with 1hr 34mins on the clock and with Smith now third and looking good for a top result, Guy contacted a slower car in an overtaking manoeuvre. The impact sent Smith spinning into the crash barriers, his Porsche too badly damaged to continue but thankfully Smith walked away from the huge accident.
"I just caught the front of a slower Porsche I was overtaking as I came back across the track but the slightest of touches sent me careering off into the barrier, flat in fifth gear, at over 150mph," recounted Guy.
"It was my fault, my mistake and just one of those things."
The Lime Rock race represented a landmark achievement for the Dyson Racing team -- 25 years in professional motorsport. The Smith/Dyson #16 Porsche RS Spyder was painted in the same livery for last weekend's meeting as that of the #16 Dyson Racing Porsche 962 that raced at the Connecticut state track in 1985.
Dyson Racing's quarter century of excellence has produced sixty-one victories, one hundred and sixty-five podiums and seventeen championships.
Smith reflected: "The team's founder Rob Dyson is such a character, a great guy; he's got such a passion for racing. He's been a great mentor and a great adviser throughout the years.
"My first race with Dyson was in 2005 in Sebring, and I actually drove with Chris [Dyson] there and we had a great time; I thoroughly enjoyed driving for the team. It's got this incredible family atmosphere. Most of the team has been together for at least 10 years and some of the guys have been here probably since the start of Dyson, so there's this incredible chemistry. When you join the team there's a real camaraderie between the guys that's quite rare. Racing teams can be a little cold or a slightly hostile type of environment at first. Here they are very welcoming, and we continued at Petit Le Mans in 2005 and again I really enjoyed the experience. I was very excited to be asked to race for them in 2006 and here I am, still here, so I must be doing something right and I thoroughly enjoy it.
"They want to win and are so passionate about the racing. Rob is so passionate about the sport. It's not his core business but I think if it could be all his focus would go into the team. They really just give you everything you need. Most of all they give you the support out of the car, and they know that you're giving 110 percent."
Smith now focuses on the sixth round of the 11-race ALMS championship staged at Mid-Ohio next Saturday (19 July). A new car will have to be prepared for next weekend's race.