POUGHKEEPSIE, NY January 20, 2009 – The debut of Dyson Racing’s two new Mazda-powered Lola B09/86 coupes at the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 21st will feature the strength of continuity behind the wheel. All four of last year’s drivers will return for the 2009 American Le Mans season. Chris Dyson and Guy Smith will pair in the #16 BP Dyson Racing Mazda entry and Butch Leitzinger and Marino Franchiiti will pilot the #20 car. “We had very good driver chemistry last year and that is such an important component in developing a new car,” said Chris Dyson. “Butch has been with us for fourteen years, Guy four years and Marino fit in last year as if he had been with for us a long time.”
Series veteran Ben Devlin will be adding his experience to Dyson Racing’s line-up of drivers during the course of the season. “Ben brings his in-depth knowledge of the Mazda Lola LMP2 coupe from last year to our effort this year,” observed Dyson. “His race skills in the coupe will help provide added continuity and enhance our learning process with the new car. He will work closely with the team throughout the year and will co-drive with Butch and Marino at the longer races during the season.”
Devlin noted that “Dyson Racing has always been a team that stands out: not just in sports cars, but across the board: it is one of the best put-together teams in North America. It was a team I looked up to in 2001 when I first joined the ALMS and I am pleased to be part of their historical operation. I was at last week’s Sebring test and it was great to see how far the car has come from last years’ iteration. With the Mazda partnership and the team’s commitment, it certainly should be a strong year for us.”
Devlin started his racing career at the age of 12 in go-karts in the U.K. and moved up to the Jim Russell School three years latter, winning his first open wheel race and four more in succession to put his stamp on the series. Ben continued to race successfully in Europe until 2001 when he decided to advance his career by coming to the U.S. to drive sports cars. In 2002, he was second in the ALMS 675 championship and his competitive career in prototypes led him to BK Motorsports in 2007 driving the new LMP2 Mazda Lola. He continued with BK Motorsports for 2008 and is now part of the Dyson squad after the retirement of the owner of BK Motorsports. In 44 ALMS starts, he has eleven top-three finishes and two championship victories.
Ben Devlin will be appearing at the Detroit Auto Show on Friday, January 23 from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM at the American Le Mans Series exhibit in Cobo Hall. There will be an autograph session followed by a Q & A for both the media and the public.
Mazda is the brand choice of road racers across North America. On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race-tracks of America than any other brand. You will see MX-5 Miata, RX-8, MAZDA3, MAZDA6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models because every Mazda has the Soul of a Sports Car.