Weaver & Chris Dyson
On That Dyson Racing 675 Win At Infineon Raceway
Lefebure has an eye for what really happens out on the
track. He was determined to find out what was happening in the cockpit
– of the #16 Dyson Racing MG-Lola, at Infineon Raceway on
July 27. James Weaver obliged, in that distinctive Weaver style
with words – while Chris Dyson gives his view from outside
the #16 car (actually in the #20, of course).
amazing victory... your car had certain advantages at Infineon Raceway,
tell us about the run from turn seven down to eleven.
Turn seven to
eleven is the fastest part of the track. Our car was very, very
good from 7 to 11. Once you got into sixth gear, there's a very,
very fast right-left-right before you get to the hairpin at 11.
Our car was a lot quicker than the Audi through there, but the R8
was very good from 11 back to 7. They were faster on one side of
the track and we were faster on the on the far side. What it boils
down to is whether you got through nine and ten without traffic.
If we had a clear lap through there we'd pull away from the Audi.
If we didn't, then they could catch us up.
about the pass on Werner, the final pass.
Well, it was one of those
classic textbook passes. We set it up at turn seven, gave him a
bit of room - because we'd been racing against him we knew what
he could do - and got a good run at him, and just by sheer luck
as I came out of ten I timed it perfectly because if you get too
close, you get too much understeer and have to lift. As I came through
ten, in sixth gear, probably - I don't know how fast we're going
through there, probably 150 miles per hour - I was catching him
hand over fist and I just managed to time it so I didn't lose all
my aero off the front, and drove straight past him. If you tried
it another twenty times, I don't think it'd be all that jammy. It
just worked perfectly.
flew by him - it was incredible, the rate of speed at which you
went by him in the braking area.
We were probably rolling
through the corner previous to that at a good ten miles per hour
faster (than the Audi). He got on the brakes probably two car lengths
before me, maybe three car lengths, so at the point I got on the
brakes I was probably going past him thirty miles per hour faster.
you a little bit...
That's perfectly legitimate.
He almost did it enough. But he left it a fraction late. If he had
gotten another foot over, a fraction of a second sooner, I wouldn't
have been able to get by. But when you get too far down the inside,
then you can't make the corner yourself and you look a complete
wally as you get onto the marbles and the other person just drives
round the inside of you, so it's not as easy as it looks to defend
yourself in that situation.
Did he realistically
have a chance of passing you back?
I got held up
coming past the pits one lap and was very slow up the hill to two
and he got sort of half-alongside me but you know, unless he hit
me he couldn't have got past. He tried really hard and when he knew
he couldn't make it he got up on the kerb and got out of the way,
so fair play, good effort on his part. I didn't get held up quite
enough for him to be able to make it stick. Luckily!
you rate Marco Werner’s performance?
We don't really know
enough to get an idea of what he has done, but watching him at Sebring,
Atlanta, and Sears Point, he is obviously extremely quick. He's
at a disadvantage in that he doesn't know some of the circuits,
but he seems to learn - when he does learn them he learns very quickly.
Joest doesn't let lunatics drive his cars. I am sure he's got the
drive because he is more than good enough
electric power steering in the Lola helped in terms of steering
feel or is it more a reliability issue?
reliability and weight. It is lighter than the hydraulic system.
If it fails, you can still turn the wheel, but with a hydraulic
system, if it failed, you're trying to push the oil through the
orifices, and you can't do it.
is what happened at Sebring?
Yea, once it fails you
just cannot turn the wheel. You'd probably rip the steering wheel
from the car before you could turn the wheels.
Dyson) Did you get the shift paddle fixed? (It had snapped in practice
at Trois-Rivieres the day before this interview)
Yes. We fabricated it
back together. It was just fatigue, it will be part of our rotation
from here on.
too much muscle?
James said I had too
much Shredded Wheat at breakfast... it broke on a downchange
of the car's potential have you realized, where was it when you
started and where is it now?
It was clearly a very fast car but the big problem we had was if
you respect the aerodynamic criteria or the aero map on the car
- when you set the car up in Europe you really can't go wrong. But
when you come to America, some of the enormous differences - different
levels of grip, the shape of the road, the concrete patches, it's
very much more complicated, and the tracks are bumpier. And in some
of the places we are going to, the winters are really bad and the
tracks are constantly heaving, so, trying to get the car to run
over the slow bumpy coners and work at high speed is much more difficult.
It took us three or four months of careful work to get on top of,
and now, going to Sears point and Trois-Rivieres, both circuits
we haven't tested at, we've been quick straight out of the box.
work, is that suspension work, shock setup?
modified the aero a bit but the biggest thing we've done - Lola
has helped us with the aero, and we've worked hard on the AER engine,
we've mapped the engine to match the engine characteristics to the
chassis - but the biggest thing we've done has been working with
Goodyear: they've been absolutely fantastic, they've helped us out
no end, they've built us tyres specifically to suit this car, and
we can't thank them enough, because if it wasn't for all their input
you'd never get the suspension sorted out unless it matches the
tyres, and they've done a brilliant job understanding what the cars
wants and building tyres to suit it. They really have.
Last year my dad correctly said that Goodyear was going to make
the difference as to whether this car would win races overall -
and they've done it. We've put an enormous amount of effort in,
ourselves personally, but Goodyear has risen to the occasion and
you can see not only with us but with the Corvettes - we've both
made huge gains. And it’s only better for the series - you've
got a tyre war and you've got different marques competing - it's
good for everyone.
(James) Goodyear has
always been extremely open and helpful to us. I don't know how many
races Dyson have won on Goodyears... forty or fifty, probably? Six
or seven championships? You know, Goodyear are lovely people to
work with. Historically in America, if you want a tyre that's extremely
good to drive on, good over the bumps, and consistent, Goodyear
has been consistently the class of the field. In the old GTP days
everybody used to be on Goodyears. I think with the American Le
Mans Series, all the big manufacturers from Europe have come over
and they've been on European tyres. So it is nice to see the "home
team" stamp their authority on it.
of history - the win - do you have any reflection on what the win
means to the series and to sportscar racing?
you ask that because we've just been chatting about it. To put it
in perspective, Dyson Racing is essentially twelve guys from Poughkeepsie,
upstate New York, and we've got a truck and we just fill it up with
bits and we go racing. And General motors with Cadillac spent three
years trying to beat Audi and couldn't do it and gave up. And what
do you think General Motors have at their disposal, and they can't
beat Audi? Yet Rob Dyson can put a team together and can do it.
I think that really puts it in perspective. But having said that,
I'll be the first to say we've got some fantastic suppliers, and
that’s where we've always been very, very lucky. Whether it's
Goodyear, Penske for dampers, AER with their motors doing a good
job, or Lola doing an excellent job on the aero for us. So we are
very, very fortunate we've got not only great suppliers but ones
who can act very quickly, and that's been one of the problems Cadillac
have in that it takes far too long to react, whereas a small team,
you can chop or change, do as need must, much easier - I think!
of history obviously it is a land mark event - a 675 beating the
900s... maybe in ten years we will have a better handle on what
it all means...
think it was a great day for sportscar racing, because it was a
classic IMSA race, and a sprint from the last yellow to the flag,
and it was a straight fight. All the pits stops, everything that
happened before then, that was just, you know, like chess, it was
just starting off. And then it was, like, "what have you got?
what can you do?" and I like to think we beat them in a straight
fight. It wasn't like we lucked into it, or they had problems. It
was a great win, because even if they'd won, whoever won it was
going to be great win, because it was such a tight fight.
(Chris) it was a good
hard fight to the end. We've raced with Joest in the eighties with
the Porsches and we've always been competitive with them. So we
figured once we had a car we could take a swing at 'em with, we
could go for it. And now we've done it, we've proved it. We need
to do it again. The Audi R8 is still fantastic. It is the standard-bearer.
(James) I suppose it
depends on what the consequences of that (the Lola win) are, how
much Joest can ramp up their game. We have got a lot of stuff on-screen,
so we…..potentially we are going to get stronger and stronger.
It depends on what they've got waiting in the wings. We'll see if
we can stay on top of them or whether they will swamp us. Whatever
happens we will give a good account of ourselves.
see Pat Smith again in the Dyson pit?
No - he was sixty on
Wednesday after Sears Point and he said all along that he's been
racing all that time and when he got to sixty he was going to retire.
We are all sad to see him go. He's been a wonderful crew chief for
Rob, he's been a fantastic friend to me. And I know I would not
have enjoyed anything like the success I've had at Dyson if it hadn't
have been for Pat. He's just a lovely bloke, fabulously good at
what he does. He'll be sadly missed but we all wish him a very happy
retirement. He deserves it. He's worked really hard over the years
and racing burns you out, you cannot keep doing it.
get any reaction from him regarding the win?
Yeah the normal Pat -
"You were lucky." I said "yeah we were a bit lucky
there with that second yellow," because we sort of dropped
back a bit, but we got going again, we beat them fair and square,
and he said yeah that is all that matters.
after the second yellow?
We dropped back - we
had a twenty second lead, which we lost under the yellow, and then
I don't know what happened after that - on the restart for some
reason I got stuck in traffic, so I was then twenty seconds behind,
then there was another yellow, and I was third in the queue. So
again, it was IMSA racing - you had a twenty second lead, then you
lost it, they had a twenty second lead and lost it, then it was
back to a straight fight again. But Pat was right- if it we hadn't
had that second yellow they would have beaten us. Unless they ran
out of fuel, and they must have been getting fairly tight, they
must have been running on fumes. Without that last yellow, I don't
know if they would have made it.
pole at Mosport, maybe?
I'd love to be on pole
at Mosport. Hopefully I will get a chance to qualify at Mosport.
When we tested there the car was staggering. We could go through
turn one flat, which was pretty spectacular. It is going to open
a lot of eyes... we've got more aero on the car, we have got a better
setup on the car, we've got new tyres, so the car should be devastating
How is turn
It's - it's
150 mph? Dindo Capello said last year they were doing about 150
through there in the Audi R8.
A bit more than that
I think, about 155, but the problem is you have to stop at the bottom
of the hill (laughter all around) It's a shame there is not a long
straight after that because you go wailing around it and "
that was fun" and you want to sit there and enjoy it but as
soon as you come out you have to put your foot on the brake!
James and Chris for a job well done at Infineon Raceway. Good luck