Lola, Mazda and Dyson Racing: The American dream team
Lola celebrated taking the 2011 ALMS LMP1 manufacturers’ title at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, California last month. The ALMS title came just seven days after Lola also secured the Le Mans Series Manufacturers’ LMP1 title at Silverstone.
Lola LMP designs took another 1-2-3 podium clean-sweep of the podium that weekend, as Dyson Racing's Chris Dyson, Guy Smith and Jay Cochran celebrated winning the teams’ title with the #16 Dyson Racing Lola-Mazda, finishing in second place to the Aston Martin powered Lola driven by Stefan Mucke, Harold Primat and Adrian Fernandez. The Oryx Dyson entered Lola-Mazda of Steven Kane, Hamed Al Massoad and Butch Leitzinger took a richly merited third place. Chris Dyson and Guy Smith made it a triple title celebration by also taking the drivers’ championship with a round to spare.
Paying tribute to the Dyson Racing team after their successful season, Lola Executive Chairman, Martin Birrane said: "I offer my sincere congratulations to Dyson Racing after an excellent campaign in 2011. Rob and Chris Dyson have been loyal customers for us for almost ten years now and their commitment to winning perfectly matches our philosophy of bringing professional engineering excellence to the race track.
"Their battle with Greg Pickett's excellent Cytosport/MuscleMilk Racing team has been a true epic this year. It is typical of Rob and Chris' determination and skill that they have pulled off this richly merited title. It is a true reflection of Lola's technical and engineering discipline that we can celebrate winning two pieces of silverware in one week. As ever, we will now consolidate upon this to ensure that we can retain the titles in 2012."
Chris Dyson paid tribute to Lola after enjoying his most successful year as a driver in the Mazda powered B09/86, stating: "Lola has played a huge role in our winning the 2011 ALMS LMP1 Championship. We made some massive steps forward with the chassis development and the competition in the ALMS meant that we never once stood still all year. The engineering team at Lola was right with us all year, pushing the edge, and the support here from Stephen Charsley in the USA was outstanding. We added a second car mid-year and Lola responded instantly with all the parts we needed and on a timely basis.
"My father Rob and I have to extend my gratitude to our great friend Martin Birrane, whose dedication to our team over the past decade has been incredible. And my heart goes out to all the key players in Huntingdon. This championship is as much theirs to enjoy as it is ours. We are honored to represent Lola and we are looking forward to even greater successes together in the future."
Dyson Racing driver Guy Smith was also delighted with the championship win with still one race to go and said; "I love this car. I feel I know it so well having raced it for the past three seasons in the ALMS. We have had total reliability throughout this season and that is a huge testament to the work that Lola has put into their sports car program, both back at the factory in Huntingdon and the trackside support in the US. Lola is always making sure that we have the tools to do the job to be able to go out and win a championship.
"At Dyson Racing we have a great synergy with Lola having been a customer for almost a decade now and they have worked closely with our partners at MAZDA, AER and Dunlop to make sure we have the strongest package in the ALMS field. Lola’s commitment to us allows Chris (Dyson) and myself the opportunity to go out there and fight at the sharp end of the field each and every weekend."
Director of Mazda Motorsports for North America, John Doonan also expressed appreciation of Lola and Dyson's success by stating: “In any championship winning effort, it takes every element of the chassis, engine, drivers, and team operating in unison to achieve the ultimate success. We are grateful to everyone at Lola for their absolutely relentless pursuit of success when it came to the integration of the Mazda MZR-R engine into Lola chassis.
"We began our association with Lola almost three decades ago (1984 C2 Class Winners at the 24 Hours of Le Mans-Lola 616/Mazdas) with great success," continued Doonan. "The American Le Mans Series championship in 2011 is another huge accomplishment for the entire Lola family…everyone at Mazda…the full line-up of drivers (especially Champions Chris Dyson and Guy Smith)…and everyone at Dyson Racing. This truly was an example of a united group of partners, all pushing toward the same goal.”
Lola are currently hard at work in their technical centre researching developments for the 2012-look LMP1 and LMP2 models. Lola are currently the only LMP constructor that offer the full range of prototype designs from open top to coupe in both categories.