100-Race Salute: Chris Dyson
Landmark start at Baltimore for a constant presence in ALMS
The ‘Summer of 100 Starts’ in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón rolls on to Baltimore this weekend. Chris Dyson is set to hit the century mark driving for Dyson Racing… the same team for which he has made 99 previous starts and the team his father founded.
In the beginning…
My first ALMS race was a great baptism. It was the 2002 Sebring 12 Hours, and I did it with my dad and Dorsey Schroeder. That was a big event; it was the 50th anniversary of the race, so there was a lot of fanfare and lot of depth. We drove our Riley & Scott Mk III-Ford. The car was pretty good but what I most remember was driving so much; I think I did five-and-a-half or six hours of the event. It was a terrific experience, and I learned a tremendous amount. It seems not that long ago but of course it was.
Simply the best
Before last weekend, my two best races were Portland in 2004 and Mid-Ohio in 2010. Portland was a very strong race because the car was good but we were a little out-gunned on raceday. I had to work my tail off to keep JJ Lehto behind me for an hour-and-a-half. It was a shame we didn’t win that race but it was a great battle throughout – very clean and I enjoyed it immensely.
Mid-Ohio a couple years ago against Simon Pagenaud… that was terrific fun. The car was very, very good that day, and it was a great day for our team, Lola, Mazda and Dunlop. There were others that I really enjoyed that we didn’t necessarily win. The race at Sonoma in 2005 was good when I unlapped myself from Frank Biela and started to pull time back on him during my last stint. That was one of the days where our car was outstanding. It wasn’t a day where we won the race but the car was so much fun to drive until the checkered flag. You get days like that sometimes where you don’t win but you know you got the most out of the car and the team.
Then came Road America
In terms of just drama at the end of a race, that without a doubt is going to be a tough one to top. Putting the car in a position where we had a chance at the end and then gnawing until my fingernails were almost gone was something extraordinary.
We made a nice set of changes between the last practice and the race that were designed to give Guy and I a chance to race hard with a straight-line performance advantage to get through traffic. At that point, it was a matter of keeping tire pressures up.
My favorite ride
It’s a toss-up between the 2005 Lola-MG and the 2010 Lola-Mazda (at right). We had great packages in each, and the car worked really well with our tires. We were competitive the whole way around each of those seasons. State-of-the-art does change over time.
What’s been fun for me is being on the cutting edge of technologies that have been developed in IMSA and ALMS over the last 10 years. The R&S Mk III was a great car, but what you have to remember is that when I started driving those cars they had 700 horsepower. They were very exciting in their own right but were built to a different formula. Really when you look at what’s cool about this series, there’s always something to look forward to – new cars, new technologies and tire development.
All in the family
It (being a part of Dyson Racing) means a tremendous amount to me, and it’s something I take a lot of pride in. I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to carry on the family tradition here and that the team has been able to keep going. When you look at the history of sports car racing and IMSA, our team has been there. Growing up and watching GTP cars race at a young age, it was always what I wanted to do. It’s been a dream of mine to carry on such a great legacy.
The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón next heads to the streets of Baltimore, Md., for Round 8 of the championship. The Baltimore Sports Car Challenge presented by SRT is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 1 on the temporary street circuit in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. ABC’s broadcast begins at noon ET on Sunday, Sept. 2. Full, live coverage starts at 4:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3.
The Series’ website offers additional content such as live in-car cameras, and timing and scoring for all users around the world. Viewers outside the U.S. can watch the Baltimore round and all ALMS races live on ALMS.com.
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