Dyson 3rd & 7th in Sebring Qualifying Thetford / Norcold Lola's Fast in Race Trim SEBRING, FL, March 18, 2004 -- James Weaver drove the ...
Dyson 3rd & 7th in Sebring Qualifying
Thetford / Norcold Lola's Fast in Race Trim
SEBRING, FL, March 18, 2004 -- James Weaver drove the #16 Dyson Racing Thetford / Norcold Lola to third in qualifying for tomorrow's Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring. Chris Dyson put the #20 sister car in 7th, as defending race champion Audi took the front row.
"Everything's good," said Weaver following the 25-minute session. "The car's well-balanced and ready to race. I'm pleased with our position on the grid. We ran with our exact race setup, and I'm confident that we'll be able to run a race pace all day that will put us in good position to win this race."
That's the goal for Weaver and the whole Dyson team. While one of Weaver's co-drivers, Andy Wallace, has twice won the race overall, the team's best overall finish has been second -- twice. One of those runner-up finishes was Sebring's all-time closest racing finish, in 1999, when in the last 90 minutes of the race Weaver chased down the leading BMW prototype and missed victory by less than ten seconds. In 1997 the team was second by a margin of less than a minute.
Butch Leitzinger joins Weaver and Wallace in the #16 car, while Didier de Radigues and two-time Le Mans 24-hour winner Jan Lammers will co-drive with Dyson. De Radigues co-drove with Dyson last year when they took this same Lola to the LMP675 class win here. This year the two top classes have been combined into a single one.
"We qualified both cars with their race setups," said team manager Randall Kelsey. "We made the decision when we got here that we weren't going pound around all week and wear the cars out. James was quickest in the second session on Wednesday, so we knew that we had enough speed. We've done a minimum number of laps, and concentrated on getting a good race setup."
A decision was also made early in the week, after evaluating a new alternator setup, to go instead with the well-proven alternator half of last year's "starternator" unit. To insure reliability, a separate conventional starter motor unit was installed during the off-season. "We've done everything we can to ensure a steady run on Saturday," said Dyson. "Qualifying with our race setup, I was expecting we'd be about where we are, and I think we've got an excellent car for the race. The (handling) balance is good; I think we can go hard all day."