It's tough for a young driver to sit on the sidelines waiting for the chance to get the right ride, but that's what 2002-2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship standout Ryan Dalziel has been forced to do for the first third of the 2005 Champ Car World...
It's tough for a young driver to sit on the sidelines waiting for the chance to get the right ride, but that's what 2002-2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship standout Ryan Dalziel has been forced to do for the first third of the 2005 Champ Car World Series season.
Glasgow, Scotland-born 23-year-old Dalziel, hoping for a full season drive in a Champ car had to wait until this weekend's Molson Indy Toronto to get his first taste of the big Lola/Ford-Cosworth/Bridgestone racers and will take his first competitive laps behind the wheel of Dale Coyne's #19 American Medical Response Lola over the 1.755-mile mean streets of the Canadian city.
Dalziel first arrived on US shores in 2002 where he finished eighth overall in the Atlantic series, taking three podiums, one pole position and eight top-10 results, notching a second place podium finish in his series debut at Monterrey, Mexico.
In 2003 and 2004, racing with Sierra Sierra Enterprises Dalziel scored runner-up slots in the points chase each year, notching two wins in 2003 and four victories in 2004. Awarded the Gilles Villeneuve Trophy for his unbridled aggressive proclivity behind the wheel, Dalziel was awarded a Champ Car test with PKV Racing.
Widely expected to take over for Jimmy Vasser once the 1996 CART/Champ Car titleholder decides to take his leave of competition, Dalziel knew he needed some time behind the wheel before assuming the position. Apparently, PKV managing director Jim McGee agrees, allowing the Scot to get some viable seat time during this weekend's Molson Indy Toronto despite an agreement to stand by with PKV Racing throughout 2005.
'I can't wait to get into Dale's car on Friday morning," Dalziel exulted. "I wanted to get some Champ Car experience and Jim McGee was okay with it. I can't wait to get some races under my belt," he said.
In preparation, Dalziel flew to Putnam Park, Indiana following his participation in last weekend's American Le Mans Series race at Lime Rock to take his first laps in Coyne's Lola.
"The test went very well although I'm a bit rusty. By the end of the day we were definitely on pace and everybody was pretty happy," Dalziel confirmed. Brian Ma is onboard to engineer the car, although the length of his stay at Coyne's team hasn't been determined.
"I know Dale wants to keep American Medical Research happy and, if I don't screw up too badly I'll probably spend the balance of the season in the car working with them. I really have to thank Pacific Coast Motorsport for giving me permission to put on hold my sports car commitments and allow me to make my Champ Car debut.
"I'm grateful for the opportunities PCM have given me to race this year in the ALMS and for allowing me the chance to fulfill my open wheel ambition."
Dalziel has been competing in a Corvette C5-R in the ALMS GT1 class; he has also contested a number of Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series races, notably finishing third in the GT division at Daytona International Raceway last weekend sharing a Porsche GT3 Cup car with brother John.
"This is obviously a fantastic opportunity for me and one I've been working towards since I first competed in North America back in 2002. I can't wait to strap in and finally race one of these cars, having tested them on several occasions," Dalziel continued. "I've raced against quite a few of the guys already on the grid and am looking forward to renewing some on- track rivalries."
The seat of the #19 AMR Lola became vacant when Oriol Servia was hired to replace the injured Bruno Junqueira in Newman/Haas Racing's #2 PacifiCare Lola at Milwaukee the first weekend of June. Coyne has had different drivers in the seat as he's searched for the right complement for his team.
"We always enjoy bringing on drivers who have proved themselves in the Toyota Atlantic Championship and Ryan's no different," Coyne acknowledged. "We had a list of drivers to consider for the ride in Toronto but Ryan came highly recommended.
"We've since talked quite a bit about him within the team and the Putnam Park test underlined what we already knew about his talents. I'm looking forward to running Ryan in Toronto and seeing what develops from there," Coyne continued.
The Molson Indy Toronto, round #6 in the 14-event calendar is an 88-lap contest that takes the green flags on Sunday at 1PM EDT. The race airs live on CBS in the United States, with coverage beginning at 12:30PM.