(Poughkeepsie, NY, 23 June 2015) Chris Dyson and Butch Leitzinger are looking forward to this weekend’s races at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. It not only marks the first anniversary of Bentley Team Dyson Racing’s successful entry in the Pirelli World Challenge, but the calendar offers Dyson and Leitzinger three opportunities to win, with the addition on Friday afternoon of a make-up race to replace the Sunday sprint cancelled because of adverse weather at last month’s Detroit Grand Prix.
Leitzinger, who last year drove the team’s single Bentley Continental GT3 entry to sixth and fourth-place finishes at Road America, is optimistic about the team’s chances on its return to the classic 4.0-mile circuit in Wisconsin’s hilly Kettle Moraine. “Our Bentleys are well suited to Road America,” he said, noting that during last year’s meet he set the second-fastest race lap. “The Continental GT3 has very good low-end torque and produces excellent high-speed downforce. Road America’s turns are medium to high-speed while the straightaways tend to be long – and two of them are uphill.”
A year’s worth of development has meant good progress in addressing two technical challenges the team faced during its early races. The first was getting a handle on the car’s electronic launch control, which is essential in order to do well on the standing-starts that are a feature of the series. “These are sprint races, less than an hour in length,” noted Dyson, who finished third in the sole Detroit race last month. “If you give up four or five places before you even get to the first corner, you’ve put yourself at a disadvantage. The top half of the field in the Pirelli World Challenge – the teams, drivers and cars – are all first-rate and there are no easy passes. We’ve made good progress with the launch-control system, and that’s been a big help.”
The other area where the team has improved its performance is in the car’s ability to make full use of the Pirelli tire that all competitors are required to use. “Pirelli provides an excellent tire for the series,” said Peter Weston, the team’s long-time technical director. “But it’s a bit ‘one size fits all’ and while some cars must carefully manage their tire strategy in order to be competitive at the end of the race, our challenge is just the opposite. Our Bentleys are easy on tires. We’ve worked to get our tires up to proper operating temperatures more quickly. Also, and it’s pretty much out of our control, a race that goes start to finish with no full-course cautions is to our advantage.”
Rob Dyson, the team’s founder and CEO, pronounced himself pleased with Bentley Team Dyson Racing’s first 12 months in Pirelli World Challenge competition, but not satisfied. “Bentley’s given us an excellent car to work with, and we’ve made good progress with it. We did win one race last year, one of the two during the season’s final weekend at Miller Motorsports Park, where the track layout and the high altitude both worked to our advantage. We’ve been close to victory a couple of times in the first half of this season. But I tend to look forward rather than back, so our focus is on progress in terms of on-track performance, further developing the car, and building on our strong relationship with Bentley Motors and M-Sport, who have both proved to be excellent partners.”
Live streaming of all three GT-class races is available on WWW.WORLD-CHALLENGETV.COM. Friday 1:40 to 2:35 PM (CT); Saturday 1:35 to 2:35 PM (CT); and Sunday 2:25 to 3:25 PM (CT). Note: All times listed are Central Time Zone.
A delayed, edited broadcast of the Pirelli World Challenge GT Cup presented by MOMO will be shown on CBS Sports Network Sunday, July 5, 2 PM (ET). Times and dates subject to change.