TOOELE, UT May 17, 2008 Progress moves quickly in racing. Four weeks ago, Long Beach produced a notably tight qualifying field. That feat is now rapidly past tense compared to today's qualifying for the American Le Mans Utah Grand Prix at Miller...
TOOELE, UT May 17, 2008 Progress moves quickly in racing. Four weeks ago, Long Beach produced a notably tight qualifying field. That feat is now rapidly past tense compared to today's qualifying for the American Le Mans Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park. Five tenths of a second covered the top seven with three manufactures and two classes populating that blink of an eye. Dyson Racing qualified sixth and eighth in class with Butch Leitzinger's #20 Porsche RS Spyder six tenths off the pole in sixth followed by Guy Smith's eighth quickest time. Smith will start the #16 car from the back of the grid, following a right rear tire puncture in qualifying that will necessitate a pre-race tire change. Per race rules, you must start the race on the tires you qualified on.
This year's Utah Grand Prix is running for the first time on the ultra-fast outside course. "The new configuration is really exhilarating," commented Leitzinger. "It is a lot more technical like Sears Point where you are always in a turn or setting up for the next turn. You are always jumping into one high speed turn after another. It is a real kick to be able to run these cars wide-open lap after lap."
The last two Salt Lake races have been instrumental in the development of new cars for Dyson Racing: the Lola B06/10 in 2006 and the new Porsche RS Spyder last year. Pre- race tests ended up providing key information both years that accelerated the learning curve for the remainder of the season. In 2006, two races later, the team locked up the front row at Portland and set fastest race lap at Elkhart Lake, while last year, the #16 car of Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace finished the race with a class podium and the team had consecutive class seconds at Detroit and the Petit Le Mans.
"We tested here Monday and Tuesday," noted Chris Dyson. "We concentrated on weight distribution and aerodynamics and ended up two seconds quicker than where we started. You need to stay on your game in the ALMS. This has to be one of the more competitive series in America and we are right in the mix. It doesn't get much closer than this."