ALMS REWIND: Dyson Racing
Chris Dyson reviews a championship season
Dyson Racing delivered in the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. One of the ALMS’ pioneer teams, the Poughkeepsie, N.Y.-based squad added to its impressive history in the form of LMP1 driver and team championships with its Mazda-powered Lola coupe – the first time Dyson accomplished the feat in the ALMS’ premier class. Team principal and driver Chris Dyson gives insight into what it took.
ALMS: Where do 2011’s successes rank in the history of Dyson Racing?
Dyson: Every race win and championship are special. You never take either for granted. In terms of our history, the 2011 accomplishments – essentially a clean sweep of the points tables – are especially satisfying. The competition was tough all year, and the team executed brilliantly. The team is back on top again, and that feels outstanding.
ALMS: Was there a point where the focus turned more toward winning the championship than races?
Dyson: From the outset, it was our goal to win the championship this year. We weren`t sure how the regulations were going to work, so going into the year we were focused entirely on preparation, reliability and scoring maximum points at every race on the calendar. The ALMS points tables reward consistency above all else; when we had the speed, we capitalized and on the occasions when we didn`t have the fastest car, we were fortunate to score well. That`s what wins titles, in the end. As it has been said before, there can be multiple race winners but there`s only one champion every year.
ALMS: Describe the celebration following the championship clincher at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Dyson: Everyone was as relieved as they were excited by the result at Monterey. We knew that we`d clinched the title and that Petit was not going to be the title-decider. Going into a 10-hour enduro and having to be perfect to win the championship was not really the team`s preference. So when the checkered flag fell at Mazda Raceway, we were thrilled. To get it done right at our West Coast "home track," and with ModSpace as the presenting sponsor, was so great. We had a wonderful champagne reception after the race with our sponsors, and the night just went from there. We all ended up at a diner eating hamburgers at 4 a.m., so I guess you could say it was a proper celebration!
ALMS: What is the lasting image you’ll have of the 2011 ALMS?
Dyson: For me, I would say it`s a tie between our 1-2 at Baltimore and the win at Lime Rock. On both occasions, the wins were superb driving performances for our drivers. For Humaid (al Masaood) and Steven (Kane) to win (for Oryx Dyson Racing) in Baltimore – in front of 75,000 new racing fans – was fantastic, and obviously the Lime Rock win was one for the ages. It was a race-long fight with the Muscle Milk car and ended with a brilliant closing stint from Guy. It was an emotional journey for me personally this year, and all I can say is that I feel so much gratitude to the team and especially Guy for all the support. The biggest treat of all was walking into my house after getting home from California and hugging my family, knowing that we had done what we set out to do this year.
ALMS: Can you give a little teaser regarding your 2012 plans?
Dyson: Our intention is to return to the ALMS with at least two Mazda-powered cars, and to defend our title vigorously. We`re looking forward to announcing the program soon.
You can find more 2011 reviews on our ALMS Rewind page.