PIRELLI WORLD CHALLENGE
t’s almost becoming cliché…actually,
forget almost. The widely-held view that
endurance racing is now a series of
sprints interrupted by pit stops and driver
changes has passed the point of cliché.
But that’s probably because it’s true.
And because it’s true, that makes the
transition a bit easier when a team like
Dyson Racing goes from fielding P1
prototypes in the American Le Mans Series
to competing with Bentley Continental
GT3s in the Pirelli World Challenge GT class.
The two-time Rolex 24 at Daytona-winning team entered PWC halfway
through the 2014 season, and its
experience and expertise translated well
to the 50-minute sprint format, with Guy
Smith taking Bentley Team Dyson Racing’s
first win in the Miller Motorsports Park finale.
The momentum continued into 2015,
with a victory by Chris Dyson a year after
the Continental GT3’s PWC debut at the
place where the program began, Road
America. So, clearly, the two forms of
racing aren’t so different as to warrant
wholesale changes in approach.
The biggest shift in mindset isn’t down to
the change in race format, but in going from
a prototype, such as the P1 Lola-Mazda
B12/60 fielded by Dyson in 2013, to a GT
machine – especially in the current era of
GT3, where a car’s specifications are
defined with great precision in order to
level the playing field as much as possible.
“It’s interesting. GT3, by nature, is set
up largely to make the cars as equal as
possible and to eliminate to the greatest
possible extent any unnecessary expense
Bentley Team Dyson Racing’s illustrious background in
prototype sports cars hasn’t proved a hindrance in its
switch to GT3 and the sprint-based Pirelli World Challenge.
Chris Dyson’s June 27 Pirelli World
Challenge victory at Road America came
30 years after Dyson Racing’s first win at
the classic road course in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
THREE DECADES ON...
WORDS Richard S. James MAIN IMAGE Richard S. James
“You can’t be thinking about
what you would have done
in the prototype days. In that
sense, it’s a cleaner break”
and investment,” says Chris Dyson, who in
addition to his driving duties also serves as
Dyson Racing’s vice president and sporting
director. “Prototype racing, on the contrary,
is the sky’s the limit, and development is
essential – whether that be tire, aero,
suspension…these are things that you
change on the fly with a prototype.”
It’s a different game, he says, and as long
as the team understands that, it’s easier
to play it. In fact, switching to something
so far removed from a prototype was
probably a help, not a hindrance.
“You can’t be thinking about what you
would have done in the prototype days,”
says Dyson. “In that sense, it’s a cleaner