The Dyson Racing team on the grid (#20 Oryx Dyson Racing Lola-Mazda on left, #16 G-OIL ModSpace/Construct Corps Lola-Mazda on right) just before the running of the ModSpace American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patron [click HERE to launch slideshow]. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2011)
Lola-Mazda Wins America’s Le Mans Series Manufacturers’, Team, And Drivers’ Championship
In the 2011 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season, Lola-Mazda locked up all three LMP1 championships – manufacturers, team, and drivers. By finishing with a second-place podium finish at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (MRLS) during last weekend’s ModSpace American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patron, the late season two car Dyson Racing team were able to lock up the triple crown of points races across the board.
Chris Dyson and Guy Smith took home the season’s top honors in their Mazda-powered #16 G-OIL ModSpace/Construct Corps Lola. In addition, Mazda won the Engine Manufacturer title and Dunlop took home the Tire Championship with one race to go in the ALMS season. “I have been doing this a long time and have won a number of championships in the past three decades,” said Rob Dyson, “But these today are very, very special.”
The #20 Oryx Dyson Racing entry with Humaid Al Masood, Steven Kane and Butch Leitzinger came in third, leading 35 laps in the course of the event. Between the two entries, Dyson Racing led over 70% of the six-hour MRLS event.
The two Dyson Racing LMP1 Lolas are powered by a turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder Mazda MZR-R engine against the runner-up Aston Martin with their V12 prototype.
Al Masaaod had a competitive stint in the #20 car battling the #007 Aston Martin. “The tires came in well and I had a good pace and felt very good about my time in the car. For me, it was a good benchmark to be mixing it up with experienced drivers in good cars.” Leitzinger shared the same satisfaction with his run: “It was great fun, especially in the beginning when there were four of us in a very tight pack racing very hard. It is satisfying as a driver when you have a car that handles this well and everyone is racing fairly and competitively.”
“This is a day to be savored,” said Chris Dyson. “I am really thrilled with the team. It is a great accomplishment to have the team back on top. We have had the equipment everywhere this year with our Lola Mazda and our Dunlop tires and the AER engines have been strong all year. It has really been a culmination of a three-year program with Mazda. They have shown unwavering support through it all. We could not be happier to reward them with a championship today.” “Our guys back in the shop and the guys on the road have shown incredible application this year. And Lola has been pushing the edge on the development – we have not sat still once this year. I won my first championship in 2003 but think I was too young to enjoy it and thought things were going to come easily but have had the last eight years to learn the lesson that this is not something that comes around without a lot of hard work from a lot of people. I am so happy for Guy. He has been my partner through all this and he is like my brother. When you get down to it, it really is a family affair and our team is as much a family as it is a team.”
Guy Smith commented, “I would just like to say a big thank you to the Dyson Racing Team and to Rob and to Chris, my co driver since 2005. We have worked very hard and had a lot of highs and lows through our time driving together. This year has been phenomenal and Greg Pickett’s Muscle Milk team has been great competition. We have enjoyed every battle with them. They are true sportsmen. The Mazda engine has been reliable and strong all year and the Dunlop tires – some would say it was a gamble two years ago to go with them, but they have proven this year to be the tire of choice. G-OIL came on board this year and we are pleased to give them their first championship along with ModSpace and Construct Corps. We are very happy for everyone who has made this happen. This is truly a team championship.”
During the course of the 2011 season to date, the Dyson team has racked up two overall wins including a one-two finish at the Inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix where they also won the Green X Challenge. The points gained in their two-three finish here at MRLS put them in the multi-championship position they share today. The ALMS season will conclude with the ten-hour Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta on October 1st.
(ht: MAZDASPEED Motorsports / Dyson Racing)
… notes from The EDJE
[Article first published as Lola-Mazda Wins America's Le Mans Series Manufacturersâ€™, Team, and Drivers' Championship on Technorati]