To say the 2013 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón hasn’t started quite the way Chris Dyson and Dyson Racing envisioned would be a bit of an understatement.
After being forced to retire five hours into the 12 Hours of Sebring due to a drive train failure, the No. 16 Dyson Racing Lola B12/66 was retired 30 minutes into Saturday’s Long Beach race after making contact with the wall in the turn 11 hairpin going onto the front straight.
“At this point, it is hard to pinpoint exactly what happened,” said Dyson. “We will look at the data, go over the car and evaluate what exactly took place. We had just gone green after the first yellow of the race. I was in second place and running well when the car did not turn in and just pushed into the wall at the hairpin.”
Dyson Racing had been competitive in the eight races at Long Beach since the ALMS joined the IndyCar weekend, taking home six class or overall podiums.
Guy Smith qualified the car second for the race and was optimistic that the team would be able to continue their success on the Long Beach street course.
“We are in a good position with this car this year,” he said after qualifying. “We are in the fight.”
Dyson agreed that the team was in good shape to score some points at Long Beach.
“We were in a position to do very well this weekend,” he said. “It is unfortunate but we will regroup and come back strongly at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The team will be testing before the next race.
“We tested at Willow Springs before coming here and had a very good test on a track that is a pantheon of adrenaline and commitment. It was one of those tests that help define confidence for the remainder of the season.”
The team believed they were in good position to retake the LMP1 title from Muscle Milk Pickett Racing this year, having gotten a lot of the kinks out last year with their car.
“Last year was the first time we ran the larger front tires and it was a learning experience,” Smith said. “This year we have a car that works the tires and once you have tire temperatures, then you are concentrating on fine tuning the car and improving the balance. Your focus is on going quicker as opposed to figuring out the basics of how to drive the car.”
Two straight races without any points will make it difficult for Dyson to challenge for the overall title at the end of the year, barring any major problems by Muscle Milk or Rebellion Racing, but Dyson was optimistic there was time to get things turned around.
“The season has just begun,” Dyson said. “There are eight races left in our 10-race season and there are a lot more races to be won.”