Ryan's ready to rumble at Mid-Ohio
THE PLOT: Ryan Dalziel is ready to rumble after a frustrating Grand-Am season. The Florida-based star has performed heroics in the Starworks Motorsport team, with three podiums and three fourth-place finishes.
But the Fort Lauderdale team’s attempts to get on the top step of the podium have been hampered by a series of collisions.
So, as the season comes to a climax at the EMCO Gears Classic at
Mid-Ohio in Lexington, Ryan is looking to change tactics and turn his
The 28-year-old Lanarkshire-born ace will be on double action again this weekend – but he has a drive with a difference.
While he will be on Starworks Motorsport duty in the #8 INA Venezeula/Avior Airlnes Ford-Riley with Venezuelan Enzo Potolicchio, 43, in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, he has also been chosen to mentor Nissan GT Academy champion Bryan Heitkotter, from Fresno, California, as he makes his race debut in the Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge.
Professional gamer Heitkotter, 30, has seen off more than 53,000 rivals to make it from PlayStation Gran Turismo player to real-life racer, as he will get behind the wheel of the #5 GT Academy/AM Performance Nissan NISMO 370Z. But this weekend will be no game for Orlando resident Ryan…
THE QUOTES: Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series: “As a team we feel we have been the victims of other people’s ambitious and aggressive moves this season. Grand-Am have allowed more contact to take place this season and we have not taken advantage of this.
“We have been very careful with our equipment because we are on a low budget, but Mid-Ohio is the last race so we are going to take the gloves off.
“We are going on full attack. We want to finish the season on a high. We don’t want to destroy the car, but we also don’t want another third place.
“In other races, I have made the smart call and backed out of situations. Now, I don’t have to back out.
“We know the bodywork is redundant after this race and the car will need everything replaced, so it is a first-or-last scenario for us. I am sure there will be others thinking the same thing.
“It is the final race for the bodywork and for the car. If the car comes home in three pieces, then we would rather that than finish third again.
“I like Mid-Ohio. We had fastest lap there last year but broke a driveshaft. It is one of those tracks where we have always been fast but haven’t got the results. We expect to be fast. Ford has done a lot of work in the past two or three races and I think we will have a very competitive package. So hopefully we can have a good result in the Riley and in Nissan.”
Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge: “I did a test in the car and I wasn’t really sure what the performance would be like, or where Bryan would be. We did a couple of days in California, and the car was a lot better than I thought – to the point where I think we could be a front-runner.
“Nissan have put a lot of effort into it and into Bryan. I am humbled that they have picked me from the list of drivers they could get. I am definitely excited by the whole project.
“I can’t wait to get back in a Continental Tires car, and Bryan was very impressive. It proved the point Nissan was trying to make – whether a computer games specialist could become a racing driver.
“I think that I am pretty good at computer games…but I will not be racing Bryan any time soon!”
THE FACTS: Ryan has had three podiums in 2011 – third at Barber, Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. He has also had three fourth-place finishes.
Ryan won the 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona, and gave Starworks Motorsport its first DP victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2008. He finished fifth in the Driver Standings last year.
Round 12 of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, the EMCO Gears Classic, at Mid-Ohio will be on SPEED at 3pm (ET) on September 17.
The GT Academy will be shown as a five-part reality TV show, starting on SPEED on Tuesday, September 20 at 10pm (ET). The Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge race will be on SPEED at 12pm (ET) on September 25.
The GT Academy saw 53,000 PlayStation gamers whittled down to a final 16 for race camp at Silverstone in the UK.
Find out more at www.ryandaziel.com.