DAYTONA BEACH, FL January 28 – “Racing is always a balance between optimism and pragmatism, and for a 24 hour race, pragmatism always has to take the front seat,” reflected Chris Dyson on their finish at the 45th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Raceway. The Dyson team has run the endurance classic eighteen times and have won it twice, but number three remains in the future as the Thetford/Norcold-sponsored team retired during the tenth hour with engine-related problems. “Howard Motorsports and Crawford Race Cars did a great job of integrating our new Porsche engine into the car,” noted Dyson. “We tested at Virginia International Raceway shortly before the race and the car ran flawlessly. The new engine transforms the balance of the car and makes the chassis more responsive. It has helped allow us to adjust the set-up to get more mechanical grip, especially in the low speed corners. The fact that our lap times compared favorably with teams who have been running this package for a year shows the yeoman job everyone did in a short period of time and certainly bodes well for the rest of our races.”
Rob Dyson started the race which saw its one millionth lap two hours from the end. An unscheduled pit stop during the first hour for an imbalanced wheel creating a bad vibration lost the team two laps. Oliver Gavin got in the car next and was the fastest car on average on the track during his double stint, working his way back up the field. He handed off to Guy Smith for his double stint. Smith lost some time with a punctured rear tire but was still able to move the car up the field. Chris Dyson continued this work, and as Gavin`s second double stint was nearing completion around midnight, the team had moved up to twelfth position overall. Gavin was in the car when he felt the engine tighten up and the team retired the car soon afterwards.
In partnership with Howard Motorsports, Rob and Chris Dyson will be running six selected Rolex Series races this season. They will next pair up at Homestead Miami Speedway on March 24, than Virginia International Raceway, April 29, Watkins Glen June 9, Daytona International Speedway, July 5, and Watkins Glen again on August 10.
“The pace was very aggressive for this race,” said Rob Dyson. “The team gave us a faultless lead-up to it and we were very encouraged by our pace during the race. A Porsche-powered car ran in the top three for much of the race. We will be testing again in early March and for the Miami race, I would have to say the balance moves much more towards optimism from this point onward.”