BOWMANVILLE, ONTARIO, AUG. 19 — Thetford / Norcold Dyson Racing had a strong run in its return to American Le Mans Series Competition, with James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger finishing fifth in the GT3 Grand Prix at Mosport. The Anglo-American duo persisted through a series of electrical maladies and off-course excursions and briefly ran as high as third overall in the two hour, forty-five minute event, which started in the rain and finished in the dry.
The team`s race was eventful from the start. Prior to the command to start engines, Butch Leitzinger discovered that his Goodyear-shod machine would not fire on its own and had to begin his charge from the pit lane. Leitzinger usually excels in treacherous conditions, and Sunday`s rain at Mosport was no exception. Soon after the green fell, the Pennsylvanian was slicing through the field and was up into fifth overall by the time of his first pit stop, which came forty minutes into the race. The circuit was drying with every lap, and Leitzinger opted for four new slicks. On his out lap the car stepped out as he accelerated through Mosport`s daunting turn two, and he managed to steer through a spin and escape with virtually no damage.
Thirty minutes later Leitzinger pitted and handed off to James Weaver, who brought the car within striking distance of the leading Audi-Panoz-Audi trio. The popular Englishman was amazed by the improving form of the Dyson team`s Riley and Scott mk3C. “It is staggering how much quicker the car is going,” Weaver noted. 7quotOur tires were fantastic this weekend and the engine was strong. We probably lost about two laps to the leaders during the race with the re-starting problems in the pits, but we learned an incredible amount. We have still got a lot of work to do but I am really pleased with this weekend.”
Leitzinger resumed the controls from Weaver and drove the final stint of the event. Pat Smith`s expert strategy had positioned the Dyson machine right behind the factory Cadillac effort, running on the same lap, and Leitzinger had the benefit of fresh Goodyears. In the race`s final moments he ran a series of scorching laps, his best within a second of the winning Audi. Leitzinger showed he had the measure of the Cadillacs on the race`s final restart, making a spectacular pass on Wayne Taylor on the outside of Turn two and pulling away. Leitzinger probably would have caught third but for a minor off shortly thereafter at the Moss hairpin. The Dyson star marched home to the flag in fifth, concluding an encouraging weekend for the team, now in its third consecutive weekend of racing.
After the race, Leitzinger echoed Weaver`s enthusiasm for the improving Riley and Scott mk3C. “The car was surprisingly good up here. I could not believe the lap times we were doing, it was great. It was also wonderful to see the support we received by being here this weekend. I think it will be very interesting to go to Mid-Ohio next weekend and see how it goes there. I am looking forward to it.”
The Dyson team will be following he ALMS tour to next weekend`s event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Be sure to stay tuned to dysonracing.com for details.