Porsche announes Dyson to enter RS Spyders

DYSON RACING TO CAMPAIGN TWO PORSCHE RS SPYDERS IN 2007 AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES Along with Defending Champion Penske Motorsports, Veteran ALMS Team to Compete in Porsches for LMP2 Title ATLANTA - December 18 - Dyson Racing, located in ...


Along with Defending Champion Penske Motorsports, Veteran ALMS Team to Compete in Porsches for LMP2 Title

ATLANTA - December 18 - Dyson Racing, located in Poughkeepsie, New York, with Porsche Motorsports roots going back to the mid '80s, will race two 2007 Porsche RS Spyder prototypes in the upcoming American Le Mans Series season.

The team, which has been a force in the American Le Mans Series since the series started in 1999 and a winner of two ALMS championships, is also a veteran Porsche squad dating back to the early days of the Porsche 962. From 1985 until the end of 1991, Dyson Racing Porsche 962s scored 10 overall wins in the IMSA Camel GT series and the team's drivers took home four Porsche Cup North America trophies awarded to North America's top non- factory Porsche driver.

Hartmut Kristen, head of Porsche Motorsport worldwide, was pleased that a private team of Dyson's caliber has decided to embrace the RS Spyder program.

"When we announced our ALMS participation in Atlanta in April 2005, it was our target to have the RS Spyder being raced by customer teams in 2007. So having the Dyson team as a customer is exactly what we were going for. We will continue our development work together with the Penske Motorsports team and we are going to do all the testing with them. The results of this work and the new developments will be made available to our customer teams as well. This is a very clear arrangement. The RS Spyders for Penske and Dyson are exactly the same 2007 models, and the engines we are providing to the teams are identical as well," said Kristen, who indicated that Porsche will provide a factory race engine engineer and a Porsche RS Spyder race engineer to the Dyson team.

Dyson Racing had previously announced their drivers for the 2007 season - Chris Dyson, Butch Leitzinger, Andy Wallace and Guy Smith, with an additional announcement still to come on the team's extra drivers for the opening 12-hour event at Sebring. Dyson expects to take delivery of one car in time for the ALMS winter test at Sebring in late January, with the second car due to arrive in February.

Dyson and Porsche - a storied history

After initial stints in SCCA club racing and IMSA GTO in the late 1970s and early 1980s, team patriarch Rob Dyson was looking to move up to the International Motor Sports Association's top class - GTP. He was considering a March chassis when the late Bob Akin told him that the Porsche 962 was the way to go. Besides Porsche's great engineering and technical support, Akin reminded Dyson of Porsche's heritage; "no one collects Marches," he quipped.

Dyson went to Porsche Motorsport North America President Al Holbert to buy a 962 in 1985, but the company was all sold out for the year. Privateer Bruce Leven, who bought the first Porsche 962 (chassis #101) was selling his car, and Dyson bought it (and he still owns it today). He and co-driver Drake Olson arrived at Lime Rock Park - round #8 of the series, and immediately went to Goodyear to inquire about the company's free tire program. Goodyear racing chief Leo Mehl informed Dyson that they had to win a race before they could qualify for free tires - and Olson did just that.

Olson went on to win Road America with Bobby Rahal and Price Cobb at Columbus, earning the Porsche Cup for North America for 1985. In '86, Dyson and Cobb won both Riverside and Sears Point in a new Porsche 962, and Cobb won the North American Porsche Cup. In '87, James Weaver joined the team, and he and Cobb won their first race together at Road Atlanta. They also won Road America and Watkins Glen, with Cobb again winning the North American Porsche cup.

1988 was the year of the Nissan domination in IMSA GTP, but Dyson Racing's Porsche 962s scored the only two non-Nissan wins that year, taking the street races at Miami and San Antonio. Price Cobb scored his third straight North American Porsche Cup title - the team's fourth. The team continued to race Porsche 962s through 1991 before IMSA changed the rules and then went through an ownership change.

Through the nineties, the team solidified its position as one of North America's premiere sports car teams. Dyson Racing competed and won championships in the IMSA World Sports Car Championship and the USRRC Can-Am Championship, as well as the 2000 and 2001 Grand-Am series. It returned to the American Le Mans Series full time in 2003, and has been one of the series' most consistent competitors since then.

Dyson today

Chris Dyson now runs the team's day-to-day operations as well as being one of the four drivers. He has seen the Porsche RS Spyder successes as a track rival in 2006, and looks forward to being a Porsche driver in 2007.

"We are thrilled with this new partnership. The Porsche factory, the development engineers at testing, and the technical staff at the track will all be supporting our efforts. We look forward to competing against Penske Motorsports, but we know they are development partners, as well. This is a very nice step in our team's evolution, and returning to Porsche feels like coming home," said Dyson, who was six years old when his dad first ran his 962 in 1985.

The car

Developed at Porsche's Research and Development Center in Weissach near Stuttgart, the 2007 Porsche RS Spyder is an evolution of the sports prototype that won the LMP2 Championship in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) under the guidance of Penske Motorsports.

Porsche has developed and built the open cockpit RS Spyder in accordance with the rules and regulations of the French Automobile Club de'l Ouest (A.C.O.) sanctioning body under the designation Le Mans Prototypes 2 . This means that this racing car may be entered, in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), the European Le Mans Series (LMS), and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Choosing the lightest of two A.C.O. prototype racing categories, Porsche is facing competition at the highest level of technology and at the same time limiting the cost of racing the car with a view to future entry of the RS Spyder by customers.

Using thorough computer simulations and tests in the wind tunnel, Porsche engineers have designed an updated and upgraded chassis for next season. Optimization of the wing and rear diffuser serves not only to enhance the aerodynamic efficiency of the car, but also to improve the range of set-up options for different kinds of racetracks. At the same time, the carbon-fiber body has been modified for an even higher standard of ease and convenience for service and maintenance. And last but not least, the thermodynamic qualities of the RS Spyder have been optimized by re-designing the air ducts leading into and out of the radiators.

Fitted with mandated air restrictors, the 3.4-liter, 90-degree, V8 racing engine developed by Porsche for long-distance events produces 503 bhp, an increase in output over the former model by 23 bhp. The weight of the car is also in line with the A.C.O. regulations, with the new RS Spyder weighing in at exactly 775 kilos or 1709 lbs.

The sequential six-speed gearbox with its three-plate carbon-fiber clutch is fitted in length-wise and is integrated into the chassis as a load-bearing component. Gears are shifted directly from paddles on the steering wheel. Porsche has upgraded the gearbox for the forthcoming racing season with the primary objective to make the gearshift even more reliable, smoother and less demanding on all the components involved, and at the same time even more precise.

This prototype sports car is based on a carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, with double wish- bone track arms for the front wheels attached to the ultra-stiff and light body structure. The double wishbones at the rear, in turn, are fastened to a carbon-fiber element bolted on to the transmission housing. Torsion springs and pushrod-operated four-way gas pressure dampers, as well as bending-leaf anti-roll bars, round off the suspension of the RS Spyder modified for even faster and more precise handling in 2007.

Great attention has also been given to the ongoing development of various other car compo- nents such as the central electrics, the hydraulic system, and the power steering.

The brakes feature double master cylinders, variable brake force distribution and inner-vented carbon-fibre discs measuring 380 millimetres or 14.96" in diameter on the front axle and 355 millimetres or 13.98" at the rear.

The racing tires for this prototype come from Michelin as a Porsche's partner included from the beginning in the development of the RS Spyder.

In 2006, the Porsche RS Spyder scored seven class wins in 10 ALMS events, including a one-two finish overall at Mid-Ohio - enroute to the LMP2 championship.

-credit: porsche motorsport

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Andy Wallace , Guy Smith , Butch Leitzinger , James Weaver , Bobby Rahal , Rob Dyson , Al Holbert , Price Cobb , Bob Akin , Drake Olson , Bruce Leven , Chris Dyson
Teams Dyson Racing