LONG BEACH, CA April 13, 2012 – Yes Virginia, it does rain in Southern California. Qualifying for the American Le Mans Series at Long Beach was rained out this evening and starting positions were determined by points. The #16 G-OIL/ModSpace Lola Mazda of Chris Dyson and Guy Smith will start from pole position tomorrow having won first place ALMS points at the season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring. The #20 Rembrandt Charms Lola Mazda will start the oldest street race in America in from the third spot on the grid for their ALMS P1 inauguration.
Guy Smith was going to qualify the car before the rains hit and he is credited with the pole. It is the second pole in a row for Smith at Long Beach. “Historically Long Beach has been very good to Dyson Racing and we have had good runs here. This is a new car for us this year and we are still learning,” said Smith. “We tested last week at Sebring and made some good gains. The Dunlop tires are going to hold us in good stead tomorrow. We have always found that whenever the track is green they have given us an advantage and that will help us take the fight to the Muscle Milk guys.”
This 38th annual seaside race marks the debut of Marsal and Lux in the #20 entry, driving the same chassis that won the ALMS championship last year. Marsal brings a background in touring cars to the table. “In a GT car, it is all about mechanical grip,” he said. “You rely on the tire and the weight of the car being tossed around to make the car work. In the P1 car, you have the aero in the low speed turns and it drives like a sports car. In the high speed stuff, you have so much downforce, you trust the downforce and it works great. It is in the medium speed situations, where you are dipping in and out of the aero and going from mechanical grip to aero grip, which has been the biggest adjustment for me. Once you become accustomed to the speed and the style of driving the car, they are great to drive because they are so responsive.”
Lux was the LMPC champion last year. “This is a much car nicer to drive,” Lux commented. “You have so many more adjustments that you can make as a driver and in setting the car up. This car requires a finer touch. You can throw a PC car around a bit, but this car is so well planted that once you have made your initial input, that is where you are going to be. The PC car is a great training ground for the top prototypes, but you are limited on the amount of changes you can make. This car opens up your mind again as a driver and you and the engineer can make the car do what you want it to.”
Chris Dyson commented, “Michael and Eric are natural additions to our team. They should do well in the race tomorrow and add to our season opening momentum. There is so much history here and we are glad they will have the chance to add to it tomorrow.”
The Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach will be aired live tomorrow on. ESPN2 starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. The race will be carried simultaneously on ESPN3.
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