Ryan was second at the Mobil1 12Hours of Sebring in only the second race in the Tudor United Sports Car Championship, with Patron Tequila Extreme Speed Motorsports.
Sports car star Ryan Dalziel reckons pole position and a win at Long Beach would be the perfect birthday present – and he is convinced that Extreme Speed Motorsports can wrap up a victory for him.
Ryan is full of confidence after a dominant display in the last round of the Mobil1 12 Hours of Sebring, where he helped the Patron Tequila-backed ESM Honda to second place.
The fact that the event is backed by their major team sponsor is just another reason for Ryan to want to succeed.
Ryan has an excellent record at the challenging street circuit. On his last trip there, in 2012, he took pole position in the Core Motorsports PC car then roared on to victory. In 2004, he also took pole position before converting that into a race win.
The 2012 speed.com Sportscar driver of the year Ryan believes the success at Sebring is the perfect platform to go one better at Long Beach.
RYAN SAYS: “It is one of my favorite street circuits and also one on my favorite venues anywhere in the world. Luckily, I have had some success there, so I always enjoy going back. I seem to have a knack for the track – it has an electric atmosphere from the moment you get there.
“Sometimes it gives you an extra buzz to be somewhere you love.
“It is a very fast street course. Street courses tend to be very slow and ‘point and squirt’, but Long Beach has one of the fastest straights of any road course we go to. You are led on to it by one of the slowest corners you will ever see, so it has a bit of everything. The most important thing is that they have not modernized it too much – it still has all the character.
“We are not sure how we will get on. Both Daytona Prototypes and LMP cars have raced there, so it will be interesting. I think people will expect us to be in there, but we will see. If we haven’t got the car to win, then we have to make sure we have the car to bring home solid points. Then we go to Laguna Seca where we should be very strong.
“We are cautiously confident that we will be fast enough to win, but if not we want the best result we can.
“One of the reasons I wanted to race in the USA was the awesome street courses and none are better than Long Beach. Traffic will be a factor like all of our races but with only two classes and the new IMSA rules, I think this race will come down to the team that has the best stops and the fastest car.
“We were so close at Sebring and I think we all still feel robbed, so we are going in to win. Tequila Patron are the race sponsors so we obviously want to be on the podium and proudly show our supporters once again that we are going to be contenders each and every race in 2014.
“It is my wedding anniversary two days before the race and my birthday on race day, so my wife Jessica and I will hopefully go there and have an anniversary-birthday-race win celebration. It is always nice going to Long Beach because it always falls around my birthday and that makes it a bit more special. A win would be a nice present to myself, although my wife would call it more of an anniversary gift.”