LAKEVILLE, CT, JULY 30 — It had been over 15 years since the car had turned a wheel in anger. Since 1990, the swooping and majestic machine had sat atop the Dyson Racing shop office, looming over the headquarters as a reminder of race weekends of another era.
This past weekend that all changed, as the Dyson Racing team brought their famous Porsche 962-101 chassis to Lime Rock for the Porsche Rennsport Reunion. For those familiar with the heydays of the IMSA Camel GTP era, words could barely describe the emotions of seeing the car run alongside the bygone rival machines of Bayside and Holbert Racing. Team boss Rob Dyson was behind the wheel for the car`s first exhibition laps, and was overjoyed to discover that nothing had changed in all those years. Exchanging high fives and embraces with his crew, Rob was bubbling with joy. After debriefing about the shakedown run, Dyson looked around and noticed all the glorious old cars trickling in to the pits and could not help but say “This is great. What an experience!”
Originally, Rob had intended to run the car only on parade laps, with no intention of running at competitive speeds. Dyson team veteran John “Boz” Pultz was called upon to restore the car to running order, and along with colleague Tim Adams, Pultz surpassed all expectations. The car ran perfectly all weekend and looked downright immaculate in its 1985 Lime Rock Camel GP-winning livery. Pultz and Adams had worked many long hours tweaking and polishing the prototype, and the results spoke volumes. The car shone alongside its fellow combatants of yesteryear.
Dyson truck driver Vince Carr put in a gargantuan effort to bring the Porsche to Lime Rock. After the Dyson team concluded testing of its Riley and Scott mk3C in testing at Virginia International Raceway last Wednesday, Carr and teammate Lou Murasso drove all night in order to get the 962 to the track on Thursday. Vince was exhausted, but after a good night`s sleep that night, he returned to the track the next day ready and willing to help out. Credit must also go to junior Dyson crewmen Huy Tang and Stan Lent, who were on hand Friday to erect the truck canopy. Also sauntering out to the circuit on Friday and Saturday was Dyson veteran Ed Hosier. Hosier, who runs an engine performance shop adjacent to the Dyson workshop, was responsible for 101`s restoration, having repaired the car after its massive shunt at Road Atlanta in 1986. “I always loved this kind of racing,” Hosier said. Ed would later be seen working hard inside the Porsche`s cockpit to cure a faulty tachometer.
As expected, as the weekend wore on the desire to see the car run at speed grew. On Friday afternoon, after two exhibition sessions, Rob Dyson took the car out for the 956 / 962 Challenge free practice. Watching the car gradually building speed, as other earth-shaking Porsche prototypes blurred by, one was reminded of the glorious days when the marque utterly dominated the upper echelon of American road racing. The swelled crowd on Lime Rock`s hillsides was evidence that enthusiasm for the company`s top-line racing efforts remains as strong as ever.
Saturday was a blur of activity for the Dyson Racing team, as the boys worked hard to prepare the car in time for its three sessions. Parade laps at this point were an amusingly dead concept, and the day began with Qualifying for the 956 / 962 challenge. Dyson deliberately did not go for a time; he simply wanted to run the car a little harder without putting it at risk. He was experiencing a slight engine misfire, and in short order Porsche Motorsport North America`s Eric Bloss had resolved the problem in the car`s computer system. Another few exhibition laps indicated the car was fine, and the team made their way to grid a few minutes before the start of the Challenge race. Rob had initially claimed he would run 4 or 5 laps, then park it, but once the green flag fell Dyson showed no sign of coming in. For 15 laps, the team boss became reacquainted with his old mount in race mode, moving up through the order despite having the “wrong gears, a spool, and a slight miss.”
At the end of the day Dyson had nothing but praise: “It was sensational weekend, and my hat is off to Brian and James Redman, Porsche Motorsport North America, and Lime Rock Park for hosting such a quality event. The crew did a phenomenal job and I am happy it all worked out so well. We really enjoyed ourselves.”