Dyson Racing’s Porsche RS Spyders – 2
The previous news item was simply a ‘copy and paste job’
(for which we make no apology – you needed to read the news
asap) of Porsche’s press release. Here we add plenty of flesh
to the bare bones of that announcement.
most of its ‘gestation period’, this was a very well
kept secret. It’s such a significant announcement, in several
far-reaching ways that it had to be handled with the utmost discretion,
which it certainly has been.
With the exception of Chris Dyson, naturally, the
drivers didn’t even know until very recently what was looming
– although they knew that something major was in the works.
So in simple
terms, Dyson Racing leaves behind the LMP1 Class of the ALMS, and
its Lola B06/10 AER machines, to join in the throng that will be
the LMP2 Class, with two, 2007 Porsche RS Spyders.
recreates the Dyson Racing role as Porsche customers, the team having
run Porsche 962s, with considerable success of course, from 1985
to 1991. Dyson’s own release reminds us that the team won
first time out with a 962, at Lime Rock, its home turf, in May 1985.
First race for the blue and white Porsche Spyders
will be Sebring, in March 2007.
Rob Dyson is the permanent connection between 1985
and 2007, and we duly acknowledge his role in American sportscar
racing throughout more than two decades with the comment that his
team has been entertaining sportscar fans – for generations.
"The 962 was an exquisite looking race car,"
comments Rob Dyson. "And like the old air plane adage, if it
looks right, it will fly right. It was a great car to drive and
that is what Porsche does best, building ultimate customer race
cars with their renowned engineering and support behind them. To
combine that Porsche perfection with our
successful tradition brings a whole new level of enthusiasm to our
team for the upcoming season. This is a reuniting of old family
members, building on our partnership of mutual respect and a shared
"We will be competing next year with a proven
package that has race data and advancement behind it," added
Chris Dyson. "Porsche won the ALMS (P2) championship last year
and that is a strong selling point. Our team will be racing at the
most competitive level in ALMS, where new teams, drivers and manufactures
are going to be focusing their considerable resources. We will be
able to showcase who we are as a team and concentrate on winning
races and championships."
An opportunity to speak to Chris Dyson two days
ago revealed that the team owner / driver was naturally keen to
look ahead to the new season, rather than back to the old one.
“This is going to be a very strong partnership
going forwards,” he commented last Saturday. He was happy
to emphasise a point made by Porsche’s Hartmut Kristen (in
Porsche’s press release) that “the RS Spyders for Penske
and Dyson are exactly the same 2007 models and the engines we are
providing to the teams are identical as well."
will be a level playing field with Penske,” was Chris Dyson’s
explanation – so one aspect of the frighteningly competitive
P2 Class of the ALMS will see two giants of American racing, Dyson
and Penske, going head to head, in a fair fight. It’s going
to be enthralling.
The Penske drivers have yet to be confirmed, but
we already knew that Dyson Racing would have Chris Dyson / Guy Smith
in #20, and Andy Wallace / Butch Leitzinger in #16.
The first of the Dyson RS Spyders will be ready
to go in time for the Sebring test in late January, the second will
join the team in time for the 12 Hours of Sebring. Dyson Racing
personnel are in Germany now, finding out how the RS Spyder goes
So with the emphasis on the future and not the past,
Chris Dyson points out that “the Porsche opportunity presented
itself, and it was a chance to renew a terrific relationship in
a class where the prototype field is much more level.”
That was almost
as far as Chris Dyson was prepared to tread regarding the team’s
experiences in 2006, racing against (mainly) the Audi R10s. He did
add that “all we wanted was a chance to lose because we hadn’t
done a good enough job. We increasingly felt that the outcome was
determined each weekend by the rules, before we rolled the cars
off the trucks."
That chance now presents itself, in a class that
“is going to be amazing next year. There will be upwards of
nine cars that will be very well supported and driven by excellent
P2 is indeed to going to be the class to watch in
the 2007 ALMS – which leaves Audi Motorsport with an interesting
decision to make with its planning. It also leaves the IMSA officials
with a fascinating challenge regarding the starting point for the
P1 and P2 regulations. The ACO has already announced a 5% cut in
performance for P2s in Europe – but would IMSA really want
to implement that regulation, if there are relatively few P1 cars
racing in the ALMS? The 2005/6 version of the RS Spyder has already
shown how competitive it can be against the P1s – and the
2007 version is potentially faster still.
Of the team’s decision to race the Lola AERs
in 2006, Chris Dyson comments that “Lola and AER did a phenomenal
job all year.” The Dyson drivers may have had a rather frustrating
start to the 2006 season (with all new cars / engines), but teething
troubles were soon overcome, and the B06/10s were consistent threats
to the R10s in the second half of the season.
But (an editorial opinion coming next) perhaps the
sequence of events at Laguna Seca for round 10 of the ALMS firmly
set Dyson Racing on course for a different challenge in 2007 –
notably when the Audi diesels didn’t need to make a pit stop
for fuel in the final stages of the race, thereby, thanks to their
amazing economy, guaranteeing a certain win (assuming they eked
out the fuel to the chequered flag).
“P1 could become an exhibition class,”
suggests Chris Dyson, “but some entrants might be happy to
finish on the podium – which isn’t for us.
“I think we will find buyers for the two Lolas,”
he suggests – and why not? Perhaps the strength in depth in
P2 will persuade at least one entrant that pickings might be richer
in P1? Racers have been in the past known to select a class that
offers them the best chance of success….
So what do the likes of Andy Wallace and Guy Smith
think of what lies ahead of them next year?
“I can’t wait to get my hands on the
car,” says Guy Smith, who suddenly has all the patience of
a five year old.
“It’s given Dyson Racing such a massive
‘pump up’,“ adds Andy Wallace. “With the
prospect of something new like the Porsches, it simply fills everyone
with enthusiasm. I’m very fortunate to be a part of it.”
So how do these two see the racing unfolding in
P2 next season?
Andy Wallace: “When you look at the quality
and the depth, it’s going to be the most unbelievable punch-up
all season long.”
Guy Smith: “It’s going to be like GA
racing on acid. The same scrapping, but in proper cars. It will
be the best sportscar racing in years. Any one of the top cars could
win: we haven’t seen anything like this for ages.”
Guy related a fascinating tale explaining how confused
he was over what he would actually be racing in 2006 – a tale
which included a Porsche hint from a certain Scotsman, but that
was followed by Dyson Racing testing a Lola at Sebring last month…
“I gave up in the end – I didn’t know what to
“I really enjoyed racing the Lola this year
– and especially as we were so close to them on pace. But
in the end, they always had the economy.”
“The 2006 races were good,” sums up
Andy Wallace, “but it’s going to be even better in 2007.”
rounds up this momentous news with the prediction that “I
think the ALMS has a really big future ahead of it.” A mention
of Le Mans elicited the view that "in P2 we're in a better
position to consider it. A class win would be intriguing to us."
Perhaps not before 2008 though?
It’s very hard to disagree with that comment.
Four RS Spyders, three Acura-powered P2s, a significant announcement
to come from Mazda (some good news for AER), the van der Steur Radical
– and Intersport news to come. This is turning out to be quite
a pre-Christmas week already.
we can’t resist a James Weaver tale. James and his family
welcomed some friends to their home on Saturday evening, and James’
job was to buy the candles to illuminate the garden and guide guests
to the rural Weaver retreat. James being James, he bought the £1
candles, which allegedly were almost impossible to light and burned
out quickly – and any cost saving was offset by the extra
cost in matches to light them. Good old James!