Daytona Beach, FL (January 31, 1999) - The No. 20 Ford-powered Riley & Scott chassis of the Dyson Racing Team won the 37th Annual Rolex 24 at Daytona, completing 708 laps of the 3.56-mile circuit. The team, comprised of team owner Rob Dyson, ...
Daytona Beach, FL (January 31, 1999) - The No. 20 Ford-powered Riley & Scott chassis of the Dyson Racing Team won the 37th Annual Rolex 24 at Daytona, completing 708 laps of the 3.56-mile circuit. The team, comprised of team owner Rob Dyson, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace, finished two laps ahead of the second place Ferrari 333 SP of Doyle-Risi Racing.
The Dyson team suffered only one minor glitch during the race.
"We got off to a good start and then we had the alternator go out," said Forbes-Robinson. "We dropped back a few laps and it made it very difficult when we were down on the (leader) board."
The crew replaced the alternator, losing only four laps to their competitors during the process. But the competition had their own set of problems to sort out. Several of the race favorites experienced technical problems early in the race, including defending champions, Arie Luyendyk, Didier Theys and Mauro Baldi in their Doran/Lista Ferrari 333 SP.
Luyendyk was at the wheel when the Ferrari experienced a problem with the gearbox. While maneuvering through the chicane, Luyendyk had problems changing from 6th to 5th gear when the engine stalled. When the car was brought back to the garage, the team learned there were only two working gears and the flywheel was stripped.
The team lost one hour and 47 minutes replacing the flywheel, starter, gearbox and brake pads before returning to the race.
The winning car wasn't as fast as some of its competitors but a twenty four hour race is often won by the team with the least problems. "From the first stint, we were going at it full bore," said Leitzinger. "We realized that we didn't have quite the straight line speed that some of the other cars had. We had to drive very hard to keep the pace."
The winning Dyson car and the second place Doyle-Risi Racing team of Massimiliano Angelelli, Didier de Radigues, Allan McNish and Wayne Taylor swapped the lead throughout the night. By 10 a.m. the Doyle-Risi Ferrari was closing on the leader, pulling within two laps. Rain, which started early in the morning, tapered off teasing the drivers with an emerging dry line.
With 90 minutes left in the race, Taylor made the decision to switch to dry tires. He brought the Ferrari in for slick tires and fuel, returning to the race without a driver change. By the time Taylor reached pit exit, the skies opened again sending the Ferrari on a single slick lap before returning the pits for rain tires next time by.
Butch Leitzinger drove the winning car across the finish line to give Dyson Racing its second Rolex 24 victory in three years.
Finishing sixth overall, first in GT 3, was the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 RSR of Kelly Collins, Darryl Havens, Anthony Lazzaro and Cort Wagner. The team completed 639 laps, seven more than the second place GT 3 competitor, the Reiser/Callas Rennsport Porsche 911.
The GT 2 division victory went to the Roock Racing Porsche 911 of Andre Ahrle, Hubert Haupt, and David Warnock. The team finished seventh overall.