Sebring: Guy Smith preview

DYSON STALWART SMITH GUNNING FOR TITLE SUCCESS STATESIDE * Yorkshireman gets American season underway at Sebring on Saturday Guy Smith will be bidding for the outright American Le Mans Series championship title when the Yorkshireman contests...

* Yorkshireman gets American season underway at Sebring on Saturday

Guy Smith will be bidding for the outright American Le Mans Series championship title when the Yorkshireman contests his fifth full season with Dyson Racing this year.

The 35-year-old from Beverley will drive a British-built Lola Coupe in the nine-race, North America-based endurance sportscar series which gets underway with the Sebring 12 Hours in Florida on Saturday (20 March).

Smith, who has scored an incredible 48 top-10 finishes -- including 13 top-three placings -- in his 54-race ALMS career spanning nine years, again teams up with Chris Dyson in the races which last anything between 100-minutes and 12 hours in duration. For Saturday's race, the regular duo are joined by Andy Meyrick, from Cheshire.

"I am very much looking forward to returning to the American Le Mans Series with Dyson Racing -- it will be my fifth full season driving for them and with Chris [Dyson] as my co-driver," confirmed Guy who finished fourth in the LM P2 standings last year.

"I can't wait to race the BP/Castrol sponsored Lola-Mazda again. We had a great 2009 season working on developing the car and engine package which was totally new to us this time 12 months ago.

"But by mid-season we were able to run at the front and put in some very strong performances. I'm excited because I know how hard the Dyson team, along with Mazda, have been working since our last race in October to fine tune and develop our car to build on the foundations we laid last season."

Series organisers have combined the top two ALMS classes, the big-engined LMP1 and less powerful LMP2 categories, for the 2010 championship. Their performance will be "equalized" by various weight and "air restrictor" enforcements which Smith believes will allow him to gun for not only outright race wins but puts him in contention for the overall ALMS title when the season finishes in October.

Guy added: "For 2010 the LMP1 & P2 classes have merged to become one single, Le Mans Prototype class. LMP2 cars were previously lighter than LMP1 cars but less powerful. But ALMS organisers have equally balanced the performance of these two classes which should make for some spectacularly close racing this season.

"That will give the LMP2 cars, like our Lola-Mazda, the chance to compete for outright race wins again which is something I'm relishing.

Smith swept the Dyson Racing BP/Castrol Mazda Lola Coupe to the second fastest LMP2 class time in a two-day test at Sebring last month (22-23 Feb).

Guy added: "It's great to be racing again at Sebring for the 12 hours. It marks the start of a new season and I am very excited to get 2010 underway. Without doubt Sebring is one of the toughest races in the world so it is always a challenge but one I Iook forward to all winter long.

"It is an important race as it is part of the ALMS championship and while winning the race is always the goal, our main aim is to finish the race to score points which are worth double at Sebring so we have to have a plan in place to be fast and aggressive while at the same time, looking after the equipment in the best way possible this is one of the many challenges of sportscar racing.

"I feel great going into this season and ready for the challenges a new season brings -- I'm certain the new rules will allow me to bid for the ALMS title."

Dyson Racing joins forces with Dunlop Motorsports for 2010. Dunlop racing tyres are manufactured at their Motorsport Division factory based at Fort Dunlop in Birmingham. The 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring gets underway at 2:35pm (GMT) on Saturday.

Smith completed his first tests with Rebellion Racing last week (7-8 Mar), the Swiss team for which Guy will race for in the Le Mans 24 Hours this summer, driving at the Paul Ricard track in Southern France.

"The car is bigger and heavier than the Lola I drive in the ALMS," reflected Smith. "It is well balanced and easy to control. I was favourably impressed with the Rebellion engine. The team is very good and made me feel at home quickly. The team was satisfied with its two days of testing -- we made good progress in understanding the Lola B10-60.

"At one point during the test, former World Champions Mario Andretti and Alain Prost were both in our pit garage with Nigel Mansell next door! Unbelievable."

Immediately after the Rebellion test, Guy headed to Wales for some one-to-one tuition from multiple British Rally Champion Gwyndaf Evans. The Welshman put Guy, who competed in some Historic Rallies last year, through his paces at the Walters Arena near Glynneath (9 Mar) at the wheel of Smith's Ford Escort Mk1.

Guy, who will judge local school children's go-kart designs in a Protek Engineering Ltd (Grimsby) sponsored competition for the annual "Belchford Downhill Challenge" in September, is also hard in training for the London Marathon. Smith runs his first marathon for children's cancer charity, CLIC Sargent.

-source: guy smith PR

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Guy Smith , Nigel Mansell , Alain Prost , Gwyndaf Evans , Chris Dyson , Andy Meyrick
Teams Rebellion Racing , Dyson Racing