Dalziel enters Continental Cup with Starworks in Ford Mustang
Grand-Am Rolex race-winning driver Ryan Dalziel has set his sights on a dream season with Starworks Motorsports.
Orlando-based Ryan finished the season in stunning fashion with a dramatic win in Mid-Ohio and has now revealed he will line up with the Fort Lauderdale team in the #8 Starworks Ford Daytona Prototype for the 2012 campaign.
Ryan, 29, will also team up with Venezuelan ace Enzo Potolicchio for the 13-round series, which starts with the 50th Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.
But the dynamic duo will also be pushing for wins in the Continental Tires GS class in a Starworks Ford Mustang.
The Starworks team may have won the last race – and gone quickest at the recent Daytona test – but they have undergone a major overhaul in a bid to become a major player in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car championship. Ryan admits they will keep building the team and hope to be firing on all cylinders when the season starts in January.
QUOTES: “It was a natural decision for me to stay with Starworks. I have been there for a couple of years. We had a great season and it ended on a massive high with the victory at Mid-Ohio. I think it was an obvious choice that Enzo and myself would team up full-time for 2012.
“We will also team up to drive a Ford Mustang GS car, along with some other really exciting programs we hope to announce in the next few weeks.
“We wanted to maximize the race weekend and give Enzo as much track time as possible.
“A lot of the tracks are still new to him this year. The GS and ST series has a full promoter day before the event that the Rolex doesn’t get. We had looked at an ST program, but we wanted to stay within the Ford family. They have built a very good Mustang for the GS competition so it was a natural choice for us to keep everything in the same family.
“We go into every race expecting to be able to compete – and that will not change. Obviously we had some rocky moments throughout the season but I think we ended it very strongly and we have a great crew. A big part of it is having good people.
“From mid-season we had a plan for building a championship-challenging team for 2012. From the last race, we have turned the team upside down. A lot of people think we are crazy because we won at Mid-Ohio, but we have brought in a lot of new people. We have a new race engineer in Steve Challis – he has won the Indy500, the Champ Car championship… pretty much everything. He is the guy everyone wants and we are fortunate to have him.
“We are really going into 2012 expecting to be better than last season. So far, that has proved to be the right direction. We did the pre-season test in November at Daytona. We were the quickest there.
“We are definitely confident about the future. We still have a lot of work to do because we are not even close to where we want to be.
“We have a few more months to figure it all out. We are not even expecting miracles at the Roar, but we expect to go to Daytona for race week and have a fast, reliable car.”
Ryan will take time out from his testing schedule to attend the prestigious and star-studded Scottish Motor Racing Club awards night at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh.
He said: “I am looking forward to the SMRC awards. It has been unfortunate that I have missed the last three of four years because the date has clashed with a Rolex test. It is a big thing for me to support Scottish motorsport. I am very proud to fly the flag. That will never change. I do keep in touch. It is good to see some young talent coming through in Scotland.”
The2012 season opens with the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on January.28-29. The Rolex Series has two scheduled tests at Daytona International Speedway – on December 6-7 and the Roar Before the Rolex 24 on January 6-8.
Ryan had four Rolex Grand-Am podiums in 2011 – a win at mid-Ohio and third at Barber, Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. He also had three fourth-place finishes.
Ryan also gave Starworks Motorsports its first DP victory, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in2008.