Team History: ALMS
From the start
Increasing the horsepower and weight, the team moved their two Lola EX257s up to the LMP1 class for 2004. James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger placed second in the championship with a win at Mosport and seven podium finishes in nine races.
In 2005, Dyson Racing won at Mid-Ohio, placing one-two, the first ALMS one-two P1 finish for the team and than went on to win at Mosport. Both wins were with the #16 car with Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver. Mosport was Weaver's 100th career race win. Chris Dyson consistent competitiveness garnered him second place in the championship with six seconds and a third in ten races.
2006 saw a change in their equipment as they contested the ALMS LMP1 championship with a pair of Lola's new B06/10's with AER's V8 Turbo. James Weaver finished second in the championship and Butch Letizinger was third. The team garnered eight race podiums, three poles and two fastest race laps. For 2007, the team renewed their historical relationship with Porsche and ran two of their LMP2 RS Spyders in the most competitive class in the ALMS. Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace finished third in the LMP2 championship, four points ahead of Chris Dyson and Guy Smith's fourth place. For 2008, the team continued with their Porsche RS Spyders, starting off the season with a second and third at the 12 Hours of Sebring. At year's end, the team finished third in the team championship and Marino Franchitti and Butch Leitzinger were fifth in the drivers standings followed by Chris Dyson and Guy Smith in sixth place. The successful switch to the BP Mazda Lola Coupes in 2009 netted the team second in the team championship and second in the drivers for Butch Leitzinger and Marino Franchitti and fourth for Chris Dyson and Guy Smith. The highlight of the 2010 season was the overall win at Mid-Ohio in August. It was the first overall ALMS victory for Mazda, Guy Smith, biofuel IsoButanol, Dunlop tires and Castrol.
The foundation laid in 2010 came together in 2011. The team won five championships: Driver's with Chris Dyson and Guy Smith; Team Championship, Engine Manufacturer with Mazda, the Tire title for Dunlop plus the 2011 Michelin Green X Challenge. The team won twice - at their home track of Lime Rock and with Humaid Al Masaood and Steven Kane at Baltimore. The Baltimore win was a one-two finish for the team. The team took five poles in 2011, and three of those were one-two starts for the team. They also added four fastest laps and thirteen podiums to the record books.
In 2012, Chris Dyson and Guy Smith finished second in the American Le Mans Series P1 Drivers Championship, nine points out of first. The team took second in the Team Championship, five points out, and Mazda took home second place in the Engine Manufactures Championship as did Dunlop in the Tire Manufacturer Championship. Dyson Racing bookended the 2012 season with first place ALMS P1 points at the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda, with Chris and Guy taking home the honors in their #16 Mazda-powered ModSpace/Thetford entry. The team was one-two in P1 at Baltimore, Michael Marsal and Eric Lux winning in their sixth race with the team. The team won at Road America with Guy Smith setting a record for the closest ever overall finish in ALMS history with his 0.083 margin of victory over Lucas Luhr. Guy also set a track record with his pole at Lime Rock, the team’s home track. Chris Dyson celebrated his 100th ALMS start at Baltimore and the team won their 200th podium at Mid-Ohio in August. The team had a total of seventeen P1 podiums in 2012.
Dyson Racing was second in the 2013 ALMS team championship and a rotation of drivers during the season produced third place championship results for Tony Burgess and Chris McMurry, fourth place for Chris Dyson, while Guy Smith secured fifth place in the drivers championship. For the second year running, Mazda took home second in the P1 engine manufacturer championship.
Reflecting on the progression of equipment in the ALMS over the years, Rob Dyson noted, "The Riley and Scotts were starting to reach their limits. The MG Lola prototype was the only real opposition to the wining Audis in the 2002 24 Hours of Le Mans and the P2 class looked pretty interesting in the ALMS, so we went with the Lola and won the championship in our first full year of competition.
"The Lola was a different animal than the Riley and Scott. The Lola was a very light car, an all carbon fiber chassis. The aero loading was more, and there were a number of other learning areas we had to master with the Lola.
"We spent a week in the wind tunnel and that created a whole lot of things for us that made the car run better. We had to get the aero down, we were not doing a good job in that area. We got a handle on the engine and the drive train and we got the suspension stiffened up and we got that all straightened out. We ran the four cylinder AER engine which put out a goodly amount of horsepower, and we were able to take the fight to the Audis at every track.
"You know, the team is always evolving. 2007 saw us back with Porsche. We ran Porsche 962's in IMSA GTP from 1985 through 1991, winning a dozen races. Understanding the techniques behind any race car is a challenge. The guys did a great job of unlocking the RS Spyder's secrets in 2007 and 2008. And than in 2009 we started a new chapter with the joining of Dyson Racing and Mazda in partnership, and 2010 saw us further heighten our competitiveness with the switch to Dunlop tires. And than in 2011 we had our five championships to savor. I have been doing this a long time and have won a number of championships the past three decades, but these titles were very, very special. And now we are with Bentley racing their Continental GT3 in the Pirelli World Challenge as our evolution continues. We are always growing and taking on new challenges."
Dyson Racing celebrated its thirtieth year in professional sports car racing in 2013. "When I look back, I never thought I would reach this level. I thought I would run a little bit and see what it was like out there, see what it was like to be a race car driver. I did not have any goal in mind to win the Indy 500 or Le Mans, or the Daytona 24 Hours or anything like that. I won the first race I ever ran, a Watkins Glen Regional and I won the race over all and beat everybody. I kept on doing it with no real end game or objectives, I just enjoyed it so much.
"It is unlike any other sport because it has all the composite things that you want in a competition: it has the logistics, the team effort, camaraderie, lots of competition, hard work, speed, etc. We take our racing seriously. We are not here just to participate. We have never shown up at a race just to show up. We show up to win the race. We have always wanted to compete, at the highest levels, no matter where we were. And that has remained the same throughout all of our racing history."