Dyson Racing is celebrating its thirtieth year in professional sports car racing this year. This is the second in a series of memories from past and present Dyson drivers looking back on three decades of top-line racing.
Guy Smith, the winner of the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans, first drove for Dyson Racing in 2005 at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans. He joined the team full time in 2006. Known for his qualifying prowess and number of fastest race laps, he won the 2011 LMP1 drivers’ championship and last year won at Road America in the closest ever overall ALMS finish with his 0.083 margin of victory over the Muscle Milk team. A Dyson veteran, he is celebrating his ninth year with the team.
Looking back, do you have a best memory from your years so far at Dyson Racing?
Well, being a relative `newbie,` I hope there are many more memories to come, but there have been many high points. I remember my first two races with Chris and Dyson Racing well – Sebring and Petit Le Mans in 2005 where Chris and I finished second overall which really cemented our partnership from there on.
Winning Lime Rock in 2011 in dominant fashion was a real highlight. Chris and I had been so close in recent years but something always prevented us from making it to the top step. But on that day, it all came right, and as a Dyson driver it is their home race and `Super Bowl` of the season with all the guys having their friends and family there. 2011 ended with us winning the LMP1 championship after a great season and great racing.
It is great working with Chris and I think we both still feel like the `young guns` but in reality we are now the experienced guys! I have enjoyed spending time in Pleasant Valley during the summers with Chris, Joy, Nicholas and Leona and my wife Alica and our three girls, Bronte, Priya and Myla. It is great that we enjoy our racing and our families together which is far from being common in any other racing team.
Any funny stories that stands out?
There are so many `Dysonism`s` figures of speech, that it is hard to remember them all! I remember when I first joined the team, it was like Chris, Butch, Andy and James were all speaking another language! But by the end of 2006 I was up on my Dyson speak! They even describe corners by totally different names so when I hear other drivers describing a corner it takes a while for me to translate it.
Your best race with the team?
I think my best race has to be the Road America 2012 race which was the closest ever overall ALMS finish in history. It was a race we should and should not have won as our competitors, Muscle Milk Racing, had issues early on in the four-hour race so the race was as good as ours. But as the race went on, they started a stealth like comeback with greater speed and some luck with the safety car periods. So with a handful of laps to go, Lucas Luhr had been catching me hand over fist and was all over me and I was not sure if I would be able to hang on. I just put my head down and drove as fast as I could and took every gap in traffic to stay in front. But as we entered the final corner on the final lap, Lucas dived down the inside of me to take the lead but he went by at such speed initially I thought `hell, he is going to win,` but then he started to run a little wide. My instinct was just to slow the car and dive back to the inside to undercut him which I was able to do and then it was a pure drag race to the line…Mazda versus Honda…. and Mazda won by .08 of a second!