Dalziel and PCM pass Sebring endurance test Orlando, Florida (March 20, 2005) -- In without doubt the longest race of his career, Scotland's Ryan Dalziel helped steer American Le Mans Series newcomers Pacific Coast Motorsports (PCM) to a sixth...
Dalziel and PCM pass Sebring endurance test
Orlando, Florida (March 20, 2005) -- In without doubt the longest race of his career, Scotland's Ryan Dalziel helped steer American Le Mans Series newcomers Pacific Coast Motorsports (PCM) to a sixth place GT1 class finish and a top ten overall finish at the 53rd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring yesterday, Saturday 19th March.
Making his rookie start at the Sebring endurance classic, Dalziel, piloting the PCM-entered #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R, alongside Alex Figge and David Empringham, took the fight to the factory-entered GT1 teams in the opening stages of yesterday's race. The 22-year-old from Lanarkshire, starting from 15th on the grid and sixth in class, managed to power the PCM privateer entry into third in class on his first stint behind the wheel.
The grueling demands of the 3.7-mile, 17-turn Sebring International Raceway, failed to phase Dalziel as he completed the first hour behind only the factory Corvette C6-R's. As the race unfolded and as Figge and Empringham duly took their turns in the cockpit Pacific Coast Motorsports, the reigning Toyota Atlantic Champions, remained in the top ten overall running order.
With 162 laps reeled off and Dalziel's second driving stint successfully completed, Canada's David Empringham took the #5 car into the second half of the race, sitting sixth in class and tenth overall with six hours and the demands of dusk and night driving ahead.
While Sebring is notorious for pushing drivers and machinery to the limit, PCM belied their rookie sports-car status, executing driver changes and pit-stops with the same professionalism and dedication applied to their open-wheel successes. Despite dropping back to 15th overall with eight hours completed the team remained in the fight and seventh in the GT1 class behind the leading factory Corvette's and Aston Martin's.
Ryan's final driving stint, his first competitive night action, helped to push the Menards-Yokohama Corvette back into top ten territory before handing over chequered flag honors to team-mate Alex Figge. The American duly delivered Pacific Coast Motorsports maiden sports-car finish, sixth in GT1 and tenth overall, a feat all the more impressive given the Californian-squad's rookie status and the rigorous nature of the Twelve Hours of Sebring.
After the race Dalziel commented:
"I'm really pleased we made it all the way to the finish. Considering this was the first time Pacific Coast Motorsports have raced the Menards-Yokohama Corvette and especially given it was an endurance race and not one of the regular American Le Mans Series events, our top ten accomplishment is something we can all be proud of.
"For me it was a particularly entertaining race as there was a lot of different traffic to contend with from the slow cars you're set to overtake to the faster LMP1's coming charging up behind you! There was a lot of action on track but we all kept the #5 out of trouble and brought it home to the finish to give us a great platform to work from. This was a real learning experience for the whole team and I can't wait to get to Road Atlanta and give it another shot next month."
Champion Audi won the event outright with JJ Lehto, Marco Werner and Tom Kristensen celebrating victory and LMP1 class honors with the Audi R8. The GT1 class victory went to the factory-backed Aston Martin Racing team with David Brabham, Peter Kox and Darren Turner piloting the DBR9 to a maiden win.
The 53rd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring marked the opening round of the 10-race 2005 American Le Mans Series. With nearly a month to re-group, the second round will see Dalziel and Figge partner in the Corvette C5-R to take on the challenge of Road Atlanta in Georgia, 15th-17th April.