Ryan's Keeping Watch Out For A Rolex
24 January 2012
2010 Rolex Daytona 24 winner Ryan Dalziel is hoping to keep perfect time this weekend and get his hands on a second Rolex winner’s watch.
The Orlando-based Starworks Motorsport ace, originally from Lanarkshire in Scotland, will team up with Venezuelans Enzo Potolicchio and Alex Popow, double Le Mans winner Allan McNish and current FIA GT1 world champion Lucas Luhr in the #8 Ford-Riley. Ryan comes into the race after winning the last round of last season, at Mid-Ohio, and after grabbing a battling third place in the Gulf 12 Hours at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina last weekend.
But all his focus is on getting a Daytona 24 victory for Ford Lauderdale-based Starworks Motorsport and putting himself amongst the hallowed ranks of repeat champions.
Starworks will bring their brand new 2012 Ford to the meeting and hopes are high that it can have the perfect debut in Florida.
“I have been told that the most special one is the second one. I have only heard that from repeat winners. I can’t imagine how much more satisfying it can be to win a second one, but I am going to do everything I can to win.
“People tell me I should wear my Rolex more. I always say I will wear the first one when I have won a second one. I am more motivated than I have ever been for this race.
“We had the option to bring in the two best pros that we could find. Lucas is now a full-time driver at Starworks and Allan McNish’s name and career is an asset to any team that you put him in, so we are humbled that he accepted the invitation. He seems to be as motivated to do this as he is when he goes to Le Mans with Audi.
“Alex and Enzo just continue to improve and surprise everybody. We have just come back from our Middle East tour and each of us was doing a fastest lap every time we got in the car. As drivers we have all grown, especially me, Enzo and Alex. We are all very experienced going into this year’s race, we just hope we don’t make any mistakes and that we are there at the end.
“It is a huge event to win in any year, but I am going to treat it like any other year. I definitely feel that you learn something every year and this is the most prepared I have seen any car that I have competed in at this point. It is very well prepared, it is fast. We have learned from our mistakes in the past and I think the guys at Starworks have given us a car that is not only reliable but extremely fast.
“We are trying to build a car that is indestructible and I have a lot of faith in what the guys have done. We have to be smart. We can’t go in and start bouncing off people and hitting kerbs. We have to push 100 per cent, but we also have to be gentle to the equipment.
“The team have done an incredible job in trying to eliminate things that have come up in the past and mechanical issues that we have had. From what I have seen I am very excited and probably more motivated than I have ever been going into this race.”
Ryan will be on double duty at Daytona as he helps launch Starworks Motorsport’s Ford Mustang program in the Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge Series. He will team up with Enzo Potlicchio, while his brother John will be in another of the four-car strong attack.
Ryan said: “We feel really good. I am excited to see how much progress has been made because we only got the cars a little over a month ago. We went to the test and made massive gains. I think we will have a very strong package. It may not happen straight away, but we will have a car that we can fight with at Daytona and we can build on that for the future.
Starworks Motorsport comes into the race on the back of a victory in the final round of the 2011 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car championship at Mid-Ohio. Ryan Dalziel and Enzo Potolicchio were the drivers that day.
Practice and qualifying for both the BMW Performance 200 and the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona will be held on Thursday, January 26. The BMW Performance 200 starts at 1.30pm on Friday (January 27), and the Rolex 24 At Daytona starts at 3.30pm on Saturday (January 28).
All 24 hours of the Rolex 24 will be broadcast live or via internet streaming on SPEED television and speedtv.com. The BMW Performance 200 will be televised on SPEED television on Saturday, February 4.
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, in 2008.
Find out more at www.ryandalziel.com.