Dyson Racing Celebrates 25th Anniversary
Twenty-five years ago, Rob Dyson raced a 1983 Firebird at the IMSA Coca-Cola Three Hours of Lime Rock. Of the thirty seven cars entered in that race, there is only one team still racing today: Dyson Racing. The upcoming American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park on July 12 marks their celebration of twenty five years in professional motorsports. It is a silver anniversary built on success at the highest levels: sixty one victories, one hundred sixty five podiums and seventeen championships.
|Dyson Porsche RS in 2007 12 Hours of Sebring|
"When we first started twenty-five years ago, we had five guys and one car and now we have a compliment of twenty-five at the track," reminisces Rob Dyson. "We had one small thirty foot truck and now we have two forty-three foot trucks. I think the biggest thing I take away from the past twenty-five years is that you've got to keep working at it and eventually with the right talent and the right bunch of guys behind you, you can succeed in this sport. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of heart. Racing is a very emotionally and physically demanding sport. It's the type of sport that demands so much of you that you just have to step up to it. I think that's the biggest thing I've learned over the years."
Dyson Racing moved from that 1983 IMSA GTO Firebird to a Porsche 962 in 1985. They won the first time out with it at that year's Lime Rock IMSA race and twelve more wins followed through the golden years of GTP racing. In 1995, they moved to a Ford-powered Riley and Scott which netted them thirty-six wins over nine years. From 2002 through 2006, they ran AER-powered Lolas and returned to the Porsche family last year with two Porsche RS Spyders. The team's record of consistent success over the past quarter century has solidified their standing as the premier sportscar team in America.
"Winning that first ALMS championship with Elliott Forbes-Robinson in 1999 was one of the major thrills for the team," notes Dyson. "I also remember my win at the LA Times Grand Prix at the old Riverside race track as one of the personal highlights in my driving career. When I look back, I just have to say that it has been an honor and a privilege to be in sportscar racing at this level."
Adds Chris Dyson, It's a great testimony to the vision and persistence of Dad that we've been in racing and winning for 25 years. I can't believe how fast the time has past, and how strong the memories are for me. From a personal standpoint, I've grown up with the team and it's wonderful to be carrying the tradition on into the next generation."
In the same vein as the headline quote from David Johnson, the Cadet Maxim says that "Excellence can be attained if you dream more than others think is practical, and expect more than others think is possible." This silver anniversary commemoration showcases that spirit of Dyson Racing yesterday, today and tomorrow.
TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF PROFESSIONAL RACING: 17 CHAMPIONSHIPS, 61 WINS, 165 PODIUMS, 56 POLES, 14 CARS, 24 DRIVERS, 260 RACES, 160,000 RACE MILES
IMSA - ALMS - Grand Am - Can Am - WSC - USRRC: the series acronyms evolve and change, but the one constant in professional sports car racing the past twenty-five years has been Dyson Racing.
For the past quarter century, no other team has the consistent lineage of successfully competing at the highest levels as Dyson Racing.
Their commitment and passion for the sport has been an unwavering supportive fixture in an ever-evolving sport.
Rob Dyson's first professional race was the 1983 Coca-Cola Three Hours of Lime Rock. He ran a 1983 Pontiac Firebird in selected IMSA GTO and Trans-Am races for two years with a best finish of third in GTO in the 1983 Road America Pabst 500 Miles.
1983 was Rob Dyson's ninth year in racing having started racing SCCA in 1974 with a Datsun 510.
Dyson Racing campaigned Porsche 962s in IMSA GTP from 1985 through 1991. Rob raced four 962's during that time; chassis numbers 101, 120, 122 and 148, which was the last Weissach-built 962.
The team won with the Porsche 962 the first time out, at the 1985 Lime Rock Camel GT. They won two more races in 1985: Drake Olson and Bobby Rahal at Road America, and Olson and Price Cobb at Columbus.
Dyson Racing won a dozen races with nineteen podiums and four consecutive Porsche Cups with their 962s. They won on the majority of American tracks: Lime Rock, Road America, Columbus, Riverside, Sears Point, Watkins Glenn, Miami, San Antonio, Tampa, and Road Atlanta. James Weaver won his first race with the team in 1987 at Road Atlanta.
Price Cobb was second in the IMSA GTP championship in both 1986 and 1987 and was third in driver's points in 1988.
Dyson Racing won the Porsche Cup in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1990.
Dyson Racing moved to the Ford-powered Riley and Scott in 1995. In seven years with this venerable package, they won thirty-six races, including two overall victories at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1997 and 1999 and class victories there in 2000 and 2001. One of their Riley and Scott chassis ended up accumulating more than 53,000 race miles alone.
In 1997, the team took the top three positions in the World Sports Car championship: Butch Leitzinger, Elliott-Forbes-Robinson and James Weaver.
In 1998, Butch Leitzinger repeated as WSC champion and James Weaver was the Can Am champion.
In 1999, Elliott-Forbes-Robinson won the newly-created American Le Mans championship and was co-Can Am champion with Butch Leitzinger.
From 2000 through 2002, Dyson Racing won 16 races, two driver's championships and three team championships in the Grand-Am. James Weaver won successive Rolex Series championships in 2000 and 2001.
Chris Dyson won five races and only narrowly missed the Grand-Am championship by two points in 2002, his rookie year. Dyson also won the Rolex Series' Rookie of the Year honors.
Chris Dyson won the ALMS LMP2 championship in 2003 with four class wins, including the 12 Hours of Sebring with their new Lola EX257-AER.
Dyson Racing made history at California's Infineon Raceway in 2003 with the first overall race win in the ALMS for a P2 car.
Moving the Lola up to the P1 class in 2004, James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger shared second place in the ALMS championship.
Chris Dyson finished second in the ALMS championship in 2005. The team placed one-two at Mid-Ohio and James Weaver celebrated his 100th career victory at Mosport.
James was second and Butch Leitzinger third in the 2006 championship in their new Lola B06/10 / AER's.
Dyson Racing renewed their historical relationship with Porsche in 2007 and ran two of their RS Spyders in the ALMS P2 class, and won the 2007 IMSA Cup for the highest scoring independent team. Dyson Racing also took second place in the LMP2 championship.
Butch Leitziinger and Andy Wallace finished third in the 2007 LMP2 Drivers Championship with Chris Dyson and Guy Smith four points back in fourth.
The team continues with their two Porsche RS Spyders in 2008 with Chris Dyson and Guy Smith in the #16 Thetford/Norcold entry and Butch Leitzinger and Marino Franchitti in the #20 car. The team finished second in the first race of the year, the 56th Annual 12 Hours of Sebring.