Ryan Aims For High In Dubai
Ryan Dalziel is planning to turn up the heat on his Grand-Am rivals with a fast and furious workout in Dubai.
The Orlando-based prototype driver will swap his Starworks Motorsport Ford for a United Autosports Audi R8 LMS for the 24-hour showdown in the United Arab Emirates this weekend (January 12-14) and then the Gulf 12 hours of Abu Dhabi (January 20).
Former Grand-Am Rolex 24 winner Ryan already knows plenty about his
team-mates because he is linking up with Starworks’ duo Enzo Potolicchio
and Alex Popow.
Ryan – originally from Lanarkshire in Scotland – and the two Venezuelan stars arrived in Dubai after the three-day Roar Before The Rolex test where they were helping to fine-tune their car ahead of the 24-hour race at the end of the month (January 26-29).
It has been a busy time for Ryan, 29, because he was also helping Starworks Motorsport take their first steps in developing their Ford Mustang program for the Continental Tires GS Series.
“I can’t wait for Dubai. I have some very good friends in Dubai, so we are killing two birds with one stone. My wife and I will have a holiday, and I get to race with United Autosports.
“The Audi is a very cool car. I saw it up close at the Grand-Am test. It is another notch on your experience belt. It is a car I have never driven before in a country I have not race in for a long time.
“Enzo, Alex and I are keen to see how different things are, but we are not sure what sort of performance we will have. With the race only being a few years old, they are still sorting the performance balance. We expect the Audi to be good and we go into it hoping we have a good chance to win.
“I think we have a team that can win and a line-up of drivers that is good enough to win, but more than anything we are going to use it as a test. It is easy to get lazy in the close season so the chance to sharpen up in this event is ideal – no one else that we will race against in the DP will have this opportunity so hopefully it will give us an advantage.”
ON THE ROAR BEFORE THE ROLEX:
“The test went very well. We are sticking with Riley so we know a lot of the stuff from the old car will transfer to the new car. We know that the new car will be a little bit different, particularly in the aero balance.
“We figured the more we could learn mechanically the better it would be. There is so much lap time in the infield at Daytona, so the better we are mechanically, the more we can trim the car and have a fast race car.
“I did a decent amount of work on day one and I got back in towards the end of day three. The rest of the time I concentrated on the Ford Mustang program.
“We are quietly confident that we have a good package. It is all very new but we have a good group of guys. We did have some teething issues but we did make some good progress and ended up about sixth overall.
“We still have a lot to learn but it is going to be a lot of fun. They are really good cars to drive.
“I am looking forward to both races at Daytona. The 24 is very close to my heart and being able to compete in the 50th as a past winner is something pretty special. But I am also looking forward to the Mustangs and seeing how we can shape the team in a different direction.
“We have proven over the past couple of years that we are a good Daytona Prototype team. The whole thought process of the team is to be the best at whatever we compete in. The Ford Mustangs is an evolution of that.
“We will approach it how we went into last year – let’s go in there to try and get some good results and by the end of the year we’ll try pushing for victories. The competition is huge so we will get our heads down and get on with it.”
Ryan had four Rolex Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series 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 Motorsport its first DP victory, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in 2008.
Dunlop 24H Dubai:
The first endurance race of 2012 is the Dunlop 24H Dubai. There are expected to be 75 cars in the race from 35 different countries. Catch the action live on Motors TV. During the race Radiolemans.com will provide comments at www.radiolemans.com. Get the latest news by following the Dunlop 24H Dubai on Twitter: @24hseries.