Scotland's Ryan Dalziel, set to pilot the Pacific Coast
Motorsport #5 Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R in the third
round of the 2005 American Le Mans Series this weekend, has
taken time out to review life as an ALMS rookie while
reflecting on his association with PKV Racing in the 2005
Champ Car World Series.
Q: Two races into your rookie ALMS season, how do you feel
youíre adapting to the challenges of sports car racing?
RD: Very well so far! Iím a firm believer in a good driver
adapting to any situation put in front of him so I wasnít
worried about the switch at all. The main difference is
sharing the car with your team-mate during race, practice
Q: Having successfully completed the 12 Hours of Sebring,
what were your initial impressions of endurance racing and
has it given you a taste to go on and try the likes of the
Le Mans 24 Hour race?
RD: Sebring was great and I think Pacific Coast Motorsport
did an amazing job being so organized and disciplined with
such a huge task placed in front of us for our opening race.
Le Mans is obviously any sports car driver and teamís goal
so Iím very excited about racing there in the near future.
Q: With PCM running a privateer Corvette C5-R up against the
might of the factory-backed C6-Rís in the GT1 class, what
are realistic goals for the season Ė points or podiums?
RD: I think for us we are building on our own program for
the future and if we can turn a few heads in that time then
weíll be happy. The C6ís are the cars to beat but the C5 is
still a great car and weíre hoping to mix it with the big
boys mid-season and challenge for some podiums. We have, at
times, showed lots of pace and with the right conditions we
can be top of the time sheets.
Q: Have both you and the team been welcomed to the ALMS
paddock since your respective transfers from the Toyota
RD: Yeah absolutely! I think it was important for us to be
fighting from the first race as we came in with a lot of
pressure being a championship winning open-wheel team and I
think thereís always rivalry between different series. I
think we impressed a lot of people by getting results in a
package which they know weíre getting the maximum out of.
Q: Your team-mate at PCM is your former Toyota Atlantic
rival Alex Figge, whatís it like sharing driving duties with
Alex as well as David Empringham at the longer ALMS races?
RD: Itís a lot of fun! Alex and I have been great friends
over the past few Atlantic seasons and racing with him is an
added bonus. Dave is an amazing
guy also and is probably the person Iím closest with inside
and outside racing these days. We have become friends,
colleagues and family over the past few seasons so itís been
Q: Has anything about the American Le Mans Series surprised
RD: I think the support we receive from the fans. I never
expected such huge crowds outside of Champ Car and NASCAR
but Iím sure weíre best of the rest as far as numbers. The
level of competition I expected to be high so that was no
Q: Prior to joining the ALMS you were being touted as a
potential candidate for the vacant PKV Racing seat before
Cristiano da Matta was confirmed by the team. Was it
disappointing to lose out on the seat having tested well
with the team at Barber Motorsports Park back in November?
RD: I was and still am gutted about losing out. Champ Car is
why I came to America to race and I felt very confident I
had a good shot but I guess it wasnít my time. I must admit
though, racing in the ALMS with Pacific Coast Motorsport is
amazing and itís opening a lot of different avenues for my
career. Iím very happy with where my career is at right now!
Q: PKV Racing were obviously impressed with you as youíve
been hired as a team consultant for the 2005 Champ Car World
Series season. Can you explain your role within the team and
what you were doing at the Long Beach Grand Prix, the
opening round of the new Champ Car season?
RD: I make great coffee! Not really! Jim McGee and I formed
a good relationship over winter as I did with the whole PKV
team in general. I knew about the da Matta deal right from
the start and we decided to keep me involved in some
capacity so I wasnít left in the shadows.
Champ Car is still regaining its feet and momentum is
growing again so Iím hopeful about possibly still coming
back for a race seat. My role consists of being at the
races, tests etc. While at the track Iím another set of eyes
and ears for the team and Iím involved in all debriefs,
strategy meetings and my input is hopefully of some use.
Also on the marketing side weíre hoping to put me to work.
Q: What were your impressions of the Champ Car race at Long
Beach and the strength of the 2005 driver line-up?
RD: Iím going to be a little negative with the line up.
Mainly due to the fact Iíve raced and beaten half the field.
You just have to look at the results of many of
the new drivers from their previous seasons. In saying that
I still think the talent at the front is huge. I have a lot
of respect for the Newman/Hass, Forsythe, RuSport drivers
and I think Timo Glock has been very impressive. Iím looking
forward though to getting in there soon and mixing it with
all of them.
Q: Is it your ambition to get back to open-wheel racing in
2006 or to continue to build a reputation in sports cars?
RD: At this point Iím open to all series. Iím having lots of
offers in the sports car world and I wouldnít hesitate in
staying here and building on my reputation. But Iím also an
open wheel driver at heart and wonít rule out Champ Car or
IRL yet. You have to go where youíre wanted though and right
now thatís where Iím at!
Ryan returns to action with Pacific Coast Motorsport this
weekend, 20th-22nd May, piloting the GT1 entered #5
Menards-Yokohama Corvette C5-R in Round 3 of the 2005
American Le Mans Series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Copyright 1999-2014 AutoRacing1 is an
independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed
by the IRL., NASCAR, FIA, Sprint, or any other series sponsor.
This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without