Dyson Racing, winners of first place ALMS points in P1 in last year’s 12 Hours of Sebring, will start the 61st editon of America’s most demanding long-distance sport car race in sixth place. Butch Leitzinger qualified the #16 Thetford/RACER Lola Mazda, posting a time a second quicker than the car’s previous best in practice. Butch is sharing the driving duties this weekend with Chris Dyson and Guy Smith, last year’s Sebring P1 winners.
With tomorrow’s race, Butch will move into second place on the list of all time Sebring starts with twenty-one to his credit. “My first 12 Hours was 1989 with my dad’s GTU team. It was the firsttime here as a team. The clutch went, I spun the car, we had a flat tire, and then we dropped a valve and ran on five cylinders. It was a rough baptism to Sebring, but the next year we won the GTU class and began a string of three wins in a row for the team.”
Guy Smith is no stranger to Sebring having thirteen starts to his credit. His first race with Dyson Racing was here in 2005. “I have run every race here since 2000. It was actually my second-ever sports car race. My first ever was at Daytona with Stefan Johansson. Daytona was pretty big, but when I came here, I found an atmosphere which is probably second only to Le Mans.
I very much enjoy this race. It is nice to have an off season, but by January, you are itching to get back in the car. There is nothing better than stepping off a plane into the warm weather and arriving at Sebring.”
Chris Dyson first raced here in 2002 and won in LMP675 the following year. 2013 marks his twelfth year here. “One of my better memories was the race Guy and I had in 2008 against Penske’s RS Spyders. We were solidly in contention and ended up leading a good part of the race. It was an exciting race for us. And last year’s result was just fantastic too!”
Joining Dyson Racing at Sebring and for the 2013 season is Michelin Tires. The team ran Michelins from 2005 – 2010. “Michelin is pleased to add one of North America’s most storied endurance racing teams, Dyson Racing, as a Michelin technical partner team,” stated Chris Baker, Director, Motorsports Michelin North America. Dyson added, “It is a thrill to be back working with Michelin and they are definitely pushing the envelope with their technologies and I think we are going to be very competitive together this year.”
2013 marks Dyson Racing’s thirtieth year in professional racing. Rob Dyson started racing in the SCCA in 1974 and moved up to the professional ranks in 1983 in IMSA’s GTO class. He started racing a Porsche 962 in IMSA’s GTP class in 1985 and has been a main stay of top-line prototype racing ever since.
SPEED begins its coverage with a pre-race show at 10:30 a.m. ET with the green flag set for 10:45. After a one-hour break at noon, SPEED returns to Sebring from 1 to 7:30 p.m. and airs the final three hours of the race from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Series’ website offers live in-car cameras, and timing and scoring.
[Pic credit: ALMS/Dan Boyd]