BRASELTON, GA October 1, 2011 – Dyson Racing capped off its championship- winning season with a first in ALMS points at the 14th annual Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda. “The car was a bullet all day,” commented Chris Dyson. “After starting from the pit lane after a precautionary morning engine change, we had to go for broke. With the turbocharged Mazda engine behind us, we had the power and it was a thrill to carve through traffic. It was a joy to drive and I did not want to get out of the car. I was in it for almost three hours and felt like I could have done another two.”
Dyson took the #16 G-OIL ModSpace/Construct Corps car from fifty-first to seventh place in his first stint. Guy Smith moved the Dunlop-shod Lola Mazda to fifth place, before falling back to twenty-fourth after replacing a brake line cut by debris. He then did his own field carving, and handed the car over to Jay Cochran in ninth place overall, and first in ALMS points. Dyson got back in with a little over an hour left, but had to retire twenty minutes from the end after car contact damaged the oil cooler. This was the second combined American Le Mans and Intercontinental Le Mans Cup race this year with the two series racing for their respective series points. The #16 Dyson entry had enough laps under its Dunlop tires to be the first ALMS car to cross the finish line.
Smith said that, “It was one of the best long distance cars we have had. The performance of the car was fantastic: the Mazda engine, the Dunlop tires and Lola chassis were perfect today.”
The #20 Oryx Dyson Racing entry of Humaid Al Masaood, and Steven Kane had its race day end early when Petit addition Butch Leitzinger had a turn one crash an hour and fifteen minutes into the nine and a half-hour race. “We joined the ALMS series at Lime Rock with a strong start and would have liked to finish the season the same way, but it was not meant to be today,” said Al Masaaod. “But overall the season has been really great. We could not have hoped for more. The win in Baltimore was awesome. It is still sinking in. The car ran great all year and all the guys at Oryx Racing and Dyson Racing put together a car that worked well at every track we raced at.”
Kane echoed similar sentiments. “The season has really beaten all our expectations. Humaid and I came this year to learn the series and the circuits. For both of us to be at the front from day one has really made for a great year. For me, it makes me more eager to come back next year and compete for the championship. We have enjoyed working with Rob and Chris. It has been a challenge and a learning curve at all levels, but we have enjoyed every minute of it. It has given us more hunger for next year.”
In addition to Chris Dyson and Guy Smith winning the 2011 ALMS Drivers Championship, Dyson Racing winning the Team Championship, Mazda the Manufacturers Championship and Dunlop the tire title, Dyson Racing won the Michelin Green X Challenge for the 2011 season at today’s season ending race.
“It was definitely a great season for the team,” stated Dyson. “To end up with the championship is hugely gratifying and to have done it against such great competition like Greg Pickett and his team makes it even sweeter. We started off as a one-car team and than Humaid Al Masaood, Steven Kane and Oryx Racing joined us and it was a huge boost in the arm for the team and put us in a great position for the second half of the year as we mounted our title charge. We had G-OIL, ModSpace and Construct Corps come on board this year and we are happy to give them these championships to help reinforce their reputations as winning companies.
“We cannot thank our team guys enough. They really are the unsung heroes and work at such an incredibly high-level week in and week out. And they could not do it without the support of their families. These achievements would not be possible without them.”
“This was a season you work hard for and dream of as a driver,” said Smith. “It has been a fantastic season. Sebring was the key to our season. Coming away from there with points gave us a good foundation for the rest of the season. All credit to Mazda and AER for an engine that gave us fantastic reliability as well as great power. Every weekend we qualified on the pole or front row and were strong in the races every weekend. Lime Rock was great race to win on with it being our home circuit. From the team standpoint, that was the best. For me personally, I think road America was one of my best drives. Even though we did not win, it was the closest finish in ALMS history. It was a season with a lot of highs.”
“Dyson Racing has always been a family type effort, so it is hard to separate where the family stops and where the race team starts,” noted Rob Dyson. “We view all the guys as being part of the family, so I am elated for them in every respect. This is a year they can look back on with immeasurable pride. We come back as champions next year and that will be great for the guys to savor during the winter.”
Dyson Racing won first place points at the season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring and built the championship season momentum from there. They went on to win two more races at Lime Rock and Baltimore. The team took five poles and three of those were one-two starts for the team. There were four fastest laps and thirteen podiums added to the record books. They had their first one-two finish since 2005 when Humaid Al Masaood and Steven Kane won the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix. It was the best American Le Mans Series season in Dyson Racing history.
“The trophy will go in the middle of the shop on a special shelf between the two cars, so the guys can see what they have accomplished,” said Rob Dyson. “It is the team’s championship to enjoy.”