BULLISH DYSON GUNNING FOR ALMS TITLE
Dyson Racing Team Principal and driver of the #16 Lola-Mazda LMP1, Chris Dyson visited Lola’s headquarters in Huntingdon, UK, recently and took time out to chat with lola-group.com about his Team's start to the 2011 season and their quest for the 2011 American Le Mans LMP title. Chris, 2011 is well underway – give us a review of the Sebring 12 hours last month; how did that go for the team?
CD: “It really could not have gone better. It was one of those weeks at Sebring that was refreshingly boring to be honest. We had bulletproof reliability, the team executed the strategies brilliantly in the pits and we reckoned going into the race if we got into the top seven, we’ll be doing well just based on our pace. At one point we were actually running fourth overall which was excellent. We ended up sixth and I don’t think we could have been happier. It was a maximum points' haul for the championship and it really put everybody in a great mood going forward to Long Beach this weekend.
Looking forward to Long Beach, you must be confident of another strong result there?
CD: “Indeed. Last year we missed qualifying on the front row by a tenth and had a strong race and this is our second year there on the Dunlop tyres which were very good last year at Long Beach. We were at a slight pace disadvantage to our P1 rivals at Sebring, mainly due to the regulations, but I think at Long Beach there has been some performance balancing. We have some more power so from our standpoint we are just going to keep the pressure on all weekend.
In terms of additions to the team for this year, you now have Jay (Cochran) on board and also a new G-OIL livery – just tell us a bit about this new look for the team?
CD: “Jay’s always been a huge talent. He raced against my dad (Rob Dyson) and James Weaver in GTP and he was extremely fast. He was also a shining star of the Ferrari 333SP programme. He has been in racing, but not in prototypes, for a few years but he has really been pushing himself hard to get back to the fitness levels that are required (for prototypes). We were just delighted with the job he did at Sebring. He came to the test in January and immediately on the second day was just a few tenths off Guy (Smith) and me and in the race he never put a wheel wrong. We are looking forward to having him continue to do some testing with the team to stay sharp and he will be rejoining us for the Mazda Raceway event and Petit Le Mans.
“As for G-OIL, it’s a wholly American company and the product is produced on American soil. That really appeals to our patriotic side and gives us a lot of pride. G-OIL is singularly the most biodegradable synthetic oil you can buy on the market. On top of that, it has extremely good performance and is available at the retail level at WalMart and Home Depot. G-OIL is really leveraging their involvement with our team to bring awareness to their product and also to develop the oil in the most demanding possible atmosphere. I think in the last few years you can say we are doing positive things for the future of automotive engineering with the introduction of the iso-butanol fuel, lubricant development and obviously the brilliant, small displacement 2.0 litre Mazda MZR-R turbo engine. Certainly, our other key sponsors Modspace, ConstructCorps and Thetford have taken notice of the positive impact of our team’s positioning in the ALMS. There are a lot of leading edge “Green” ideas that our team is reinforcing along with partners like Lola and Dunlop and it’s at the head of the pack that we intend to remain.
Just finally, in terms of your relationship with Lola, which goes back to 2002, tell us a bit about the sort of relationship that Dyson Racings has with them?
CD: “From our point of view there is really no better partner to work with in sports car racing than Lola and everything really comes from the vision, passion and commitment of Martin Birrane, who is not only a great business man, but he has made a huge commitment to this sport. He’s a great friend of the family. Knowing that the ownership is so committed to, and passionate about motorsport, really gives you the confidence at the race track. You feel like the entire company is behind you.
It’s a great relationship and it’s one that we really value and the fact that Lola is constantly on the leading edge of sports car racing technology is always appealing. It’s a “can do” attitude here (at Lola) and it’s a flexible, responsive organisation we love dealing with. It says a lot about a company that is so big and is so involved in so many different industries that they can answer the call instantly. That’s why, year after year, we look no further.
I am sure you are asked this question almost weekly but what can you tell us about the possibility of seeing Dyson Racing at Le Mans in the near future?
CD: “From a personal standpoint, I can’t wait to take the team to Le Mans. We looked at it quite seriously actually for this year but ultimately with the economic climate we wanted to keep our powder dry and keep our focus on a championship effort over in ALMS. We will keep an eye on the regulations and we have a very open mind about going there, so we are going to take a hard look at it for 2012 and watch with interest this year.
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