Dyson’s Progress At Sebring
After ‘Six’ Days Of Testing

It hasn’t even been six full days of testing so far, for the Dyson Racing Lola B06/10 AER, but the personnel involved are all very positive about the prospects for the two blue and white entries in the ALMS this year.

They’re very aware that Audi might have something very special for this season too, but perhaps Audi personnel are ‘looking over their shoulders’ rather more?

dailysportscar.comJames Weaver has been doing the bulk of the driving, so let’s see what James has to say.

“We haven’t really started on set-up work yet. We’re still running the car too high at the front, so we’re not properly into the aero window. Once we lower the front by a few millimetres, we’ll find the front downforce, and then we’ll find the speed that we know is there.”

Overall, despite the previous comment, James describes the Lola as “a beautiful little car to drive”.

There have been some niggling little issues, nothing remotely serious, with the new car and engine – but that’s what this early phase of development has been all about.

But despite not running in the ‘window’, James Weaver’s best time at Sebring, on the last day of the second three day test (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week), was a very impressive “mid to high 1:47”.

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That compares very favourably with Audi R10 performance, the German prototype running a little ahead of the Lola in their respective development phases – and the German budget is probably significantly larger too.

Unofficially, Allan McNish set a 1:46.6 on the last day of this week’s test, in the process of tyre testing, while the other R10 was in the 1:48s, on more regular rubber.

“We’re as quick as that car,” sums up James Weaver, “without any set-up work. If the car and engine are damn good, I think we should say so – and they are.”

Chris Dyson spent time in the car on Wednesday afternoon this week, and he commented that "this car is going to be very good. It's early days now, but the package already feels like a step forward from the 675 car. And the most encouraging thing is that we're just scratching the surface of the car's potential. Everyone here has good reason to be excited about the coming ALMS season."

So what about the new, twin-turbo AER V8, James?

“There’s no evidence that it’s not unburstable. It feels very solid, vibration-free, it revs freely, and it’s everything a driver wants – except that I’d rather they took restrictors off, so we could have 1,000 bhp!”

Weaver’s conclusion? “Everything looks pretty mighty.”

dailysportscar.comAER’s Mike Lancaster is suitably cautious with his words, but overall, he’s a happy man too.

“We’ve had relatively few problems, and the ones we’ve had have been of a minor nature. The engine came back to the UK after the first test at Sebring, which was all part of the plan – just a routine strip down and ‘measure’. Considering that the engine is all-new, with so much new electronics to it, we’re looking at it as a very successful six days of testing. From now on, every time it runs in the car the performance will improve – but I think James is very happy with where we’re starting from. Chris (Dyson) described it as “very powerful” when he drove on Wednesday."

There’s a slight modification under way at the front of the Lola(s) – which will then allow the team to run lower (and harder) next time out. Touching the kerbs at Sebring was a definite ‘no-no’ in January, and the team made some interim improvements for their most recent test. The front floor will be even more robust at the next test

That is likely to be at Texas World Speedway, ahead of the cars’ race debut at Sebring next month.

Guy Smith hasn’t driven the B06/10 yet, but he comments that “the feedback from James and Chris is very positive: the balance of the car sounds as though it will be very much like that of the P2 car, which is what you’d expect.” He can’t wait to try the car for the first time.

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There was a chance for some ‘good old British humour’ at Sebring this week. A slight ‘problem’ with the radio on the B06/10 was resolved – to the extent that when a certain British driver trundled past the ‘opposition’ area of the pit-lane and said “Good afternoon chaps”, some of the technicians waved back!

There’s going to be some very serious rivalry at the head of the ALMS field this year – and these two / three teams, with their four cars, are going to push each other very hard indeed.

 

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