POUGHKEEPSIE, NY June 12, 2009 — Three Dyson Racing drivers will not have to sprint across the track like in the old days, but they will have good starting positions for Saturday’s 77th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Chris Dyson in the #25 RML AD Group LMP2 Mazda Lola Coupe along with Tommy Erdos and Mike Newton will start fourth in class with Guy Smith in the #40 Quifel-ASM Ginetta Zytek 09S with Olivier Pla and Miguel Amaral lining up right behind in fifth. Marino Franchitti along with Paul Drayson and Jonny Cocker will start ninth in the GT2 class in Drayson Racing’s #87 Aston Martin Vantage, one of four marques in the competitive class.
Chris Dyson returns to world’s oldest sportscar race after driving a Dome-Judd in 2004 with reigning Sportscar champion Jan Lammers, finishing seventh, the highest placed American. “We are pleased with our car. We started the week taking a very measured approach and keeping the big picture in mind –which is the race this weekend. Ultimately for this race, you have take what the car gives you and not be caught up in running too hard a pace. The LMP2 class has proven the past few years that if you are around at the finish, you can get a very good result. RML knows how to win here, and we’re confident in our strategy.”
Guy Smith won the 2003 Le Mans outright in a Bentley and this is his sixth 24 Hours and second year with the Quifel-ASM team. “Initially the car was very nervous during the qualifying session. We made some changes to it for the second part of the four hour qualifying session and Olivier did a good job. We have a good race car after Wednesday’s six-hour session and tonight’s four hour time trial should give us a good shot at a class podium come Sunday afternoon.”
Marino Franchitti returns to the classic sportscar race after an inaugural run in 2005 in a GT2 Panoz. “There are a lot of Ferraris and Porsches and we would love to compete, but for us, it’s mainly a case of seeing what our pace will be. We are our own competition this year, as it is the car’s first Le Mans. If we get a finish, we will be very satisfied and be in a good position. This race has an energy all its own and I am on cloud nine to be back here.”
This is the sixth Le Mans for the RML AD Group, with two LMP2 titles to their credit in 2005 and 2006. Mazda is no stranger to international endurance racing. Their competition debut was in October of 1968 when they entered two Cosmo Sport Coupes in the 84 Hour Marathon de la Route ultra-endurance race at Nurburgring, finishing fourth. Twenty-three years later, Mazda won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They are still the only Japanese manufacturer to have ever won this iconic endurance race.
The race runs from 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. EDT) on Saturday, June 13 to 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. EDT) on Sunday, June 14. SPEED will provide live television coverage. SIRIUS channel 126 and XM channel 243 will carry full coverage. Internet listeners can tune in at radiolemans.com. and SPEEDtv.com will have live streaming video from noon to 4:30 p.m. ET and 10 p.m. to midnight ET, coinciding with SPEED’s break from the action.