Dyson Racing, Mazda Power Win Petit LeMans to Cap-Off 2012 Campaign
Dyson Racing ended the 10-race 2012 American Le Mans Series season on a high note taking the class win at the prestigious Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda. Drivers Chris Dyson, Guy Smith and Steven Kane maximized the potential of the P1-class #16 Mazda-powered ModSpace/Thetford entry as the trio towered above the competition at Road Atlanta.
This was the second race for the Flybrid KERS Hybrid system on the #16 car. "We made good strides with the system this week and will continue to work with it over the winter," said Smith. "Its little bursts help when you are trying to work your way through the slower cars." This was the first time Steven Kane has driven a car with a hybrid system. "My main focus this weekend was doing the best job I could for Chris and Guy and help them in their fight for the championship," he said. "So my main battle was getting through traffic cleanly and the KERS helped make that a more confident exercise."
The 2012 ALMS P1 championships came down to the last race of the year. The team came to Road Atlanta with a mathematical chance to repeat their 2011 titles, but Pickett Racing clinched the championship by virtue of completing seventy percent of the race distance. Chris Dyson and Guy Smith finished second in the Drivers Championship. Dyson drivers occupied the next five championship positions with Eric Lux third, Michael Marsal fourth, Steven Kane fifth, Tony Burgess sixth, Johnny Mowlem seventh and Mark Paterson and Chris McMurry ninth. The team took second in the Team Championship and Mazda took home second place in the Engine Manufacturers Championship as did Dunlop in the Tire Manufacturer Championship.
The #20 Dyson Racing entry of Tony Burgess, Mark Paterson and Chris McMurry were third in ALMS P1 points after the conclusion of the 394-lap race. They held down second place in P1 for over six hours of the nine-hour thirty-seven minute race until electrical problems retired their car an hour and a half from the end.
Chris McMurry summed up their race: "We ran a good strong race, with good lap times. Nobody put a wheel wrong and everybody was super smart and it was paying off. It was a shame we could not run to the end, but all three drivers said the exact same thing which is we all had a great time." Tony Burgess echoed similar sentiments: "We were in very good position to have a good result but unfortunately our race ended with something beyond our control. But overall we had a very disciplined and good race." Mark Paterson, who set the car's fastest time, said "Tony and Chris drove fantastically. There was no ego and everyone was sharing. The three of us very much enjoyed driving with each other."
"We would not have been able to take the fight to them as we did this year without the support of our partners who share our passion for competition at the highest level," said Chris Dyson. "This is our fourth year with Mazda and they have been supportive throughout. Advanced Engine Research (AER) has been providing our winning horsepower for eight years and Dunlop has worked hard throughout the season.
"Our thanks and appreciation to all the drivers in the 20 car who contributed to our championship fight. Michael Marsal and Eric Lux showed they have what it takes to win races with their victory at Baltimore and our seasoned mix of Johnny Mowlem, Tony Burgess, Mark Patterson and Chris McMurry were a pleasure to work with and we welcome them to the Dyson family."
In addition to taking home first place ALMS P1 points at the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 15th Annual Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda, the team was one-two in P1 at Baltimore and won at Road America. Guy Smith set a record with the closest ever overall finish in ALMS history at Road America with his 0.083 margin of victory over Lucas Luhr, while Chris Dyson celebrated his 100th ALMS start at the following race at Baltimore. The team had a total of 17 podiums this year and won their 200th podium at Mid-Ohio in August.
"I am proud of this team. Michael White, Peter Weston, Vince Wood and everybody who makes this organization such a special group," Team Principal Rob Dyson said. "They all put in long hours and worked tirelessly. With their effort, we were able to take the championship down to the last race of the season. I am very happy for Greg Pickett. It is competitors like him whose passion makes this sport possible. They are worthy victors and share our view that these cars produce the most exciting racing in the country. I am optimistic that we will be able to keep the brightness that makes our sport unique in the future."
Sebring awaits as the AMLS will kick off the 2013 season with the illustrious 12 Hours of Sebring on March 13th.