ALMS LOLAS KICK OFF 2011
The 2011 American Le Mans season blasted in to life at the Sebring Raceway in Florida this week at the official pre season test.
Dyson Racing returned for a third year with their Mazda powered Lola Coupe sporting the new G-OIL livery with additional signage featuring ModSpace and Constructcorps. Joining the team at the test was Jay Cochran, who will be partnering Chris Dyson and Guy Smith in the #16 G-OIL entry in this seasons endurance races including the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 19.
“Jay brings speed, experience, a good track record, and full commitment to the team,” said Chris Dyson. “This was his first time in the car and he very quickly and methodically got up to speed. His personality is a natural fit with our team.”
“To me, driving for Rob and Chris is like driving for a Walkinshaw or a Ferrari. With its great record of wins and championships, Dyson Racing is one of the very best teams in American motorsports,” Cochran said. "They have always put together a very professional group of people – just look at the drivers that have driven for the team. To be part of that is something any driver would be proud of."
“It was a good test. The thing I found amazing about the car is how easy it is to drive, which shows you how much work the Dyson team has done on developing the car. I have driven a lot of evil cars in the past where there is a zone where you really had to be on your game because the car is so twitchy. But this car is very good.”
Dyson summed up the test as “Two productive days. We were able to assess the new engine configuration for 2011 and simulated the level of aerodynamics that we are going to expect at Sebring next month. We are at the comfortable stage with the AER-powered Lola where you are fine-tuning the car rather than chasing set-ups.”
Smith noted that “The Lola feels comfortable. We are adapting to the rules changes that give us less power and more weight. The team has done a good job with the chassis to accompany the extra weight as well as AER with the Mazda engine in making the car drivable with the power level we have.”
This is Smith’s seventh year driving for Dyson Racing. “Time really does fly by. I still enjoy it as if it is my first season. That is the most important thing: to enjoy what you are doing and the people you work with. Driving with Chris is a pleasure and our working partnership is very strong. So we will build on it and have a run at the championship.”
Topping the time sheets over the two days of action at Sebring was the Cytosport Lola-Aston Martin driven by Klaus Graf, Greg Pickett and Lucas Luhr. Luhr set the fastest time with a 1:49.997 lap on Thursday morning. The Muscle Milk sponsored Lola was fastest in each of the four sessions and looks set to be one of the front runners during the 2011 season.
The 59th Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring will be the first race of the 2011 American Le Mans Series season and the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. The combination will produce a 59-car grid, tieing the largest Sebring field in the ALMS era.