BRASELTON, GA, OCT. 18 — Thetford / Norcold Dyson Racing`s Chris Dyson clinched his first American Le Mans Series championship and Dyson Racing won a fourth consecutive Team title in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta Saturday.
By finishing second with Didier de Radigues and Chad Block in the 1000-mile Petit Le Mans enduro, Dyson edged Intersport Racing`s Jon Field and Duncan Dayton for the championship.
In a season that was never lacking for drama, today`s race was no exception for the crew of the #20 Dyson MG-Lola EX257. After de Radigues had moved the car up to third place overall, Block crashed in the race`s second hour shortly after taking over the controls. The Pennsylvanian was fortunate to return the wounded #20 machine to the pits, where the crew worked feverishly to make repairs. Rejoining the field more than an hour later, and needing to cover seventy percent of the race distance to score necessary points, Dyson and de Radigues set out on a steady pace. Eventually, the car had moved up to 21st position overall in the thirty-eight car field.
Dyson was thrilled with the result. “We certainly did not make it easy for ourselves today,” he said. “But racing is all about triumphing over adversity, and we have had some great success this year. This is really a credit to the team and my great teammates, without whom this would not have happened. No one in this organization– and that includes all of our suppliers– is ever satisfied, and we are always looking for the edge over our competition. I happened to be the beneficiary of our good fortune, and for that I am really grateful.”
The sister car of James Weaver, Andy Wallace and Butch Leitzinger suffered electrical woes that eliminated their #16 machine from the event in the first hour. Weaver`s early race form promised a day-long batte with the winning Audi R8 Champion team, the Englishman running for the outright lead after matching or bettering their times all week. It was not to be, sadly, and Weaver was forced to retire the car after a faulty voltage regulator led to a broken turbo.
“The car was mighty all week, and it is really annoying to have something like this take us out of contention,” Weaver said. “We did learn quite a bit this weekend, and we have got several things we will be dealing with in offseason testing and development.”
With the conclusion of the nine-round American Le Mans Series, the Dyson team will return to its Poughkeepsie, New York headquarters to prepare the cars for more testing in advance of the 2004 season.
Dyson Racing`s most recent accomplishment underscores its position as North America`s most successful sportscar team, with eight Driver`s and six Team championships in the last seven seasons of sportscar competition.