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Vanessa

Catching Up With.... Rob Dyson
A Positive View Of US Endurance Racing's Future

Being in racing for nearly 40 years, Dyson Racing founder and team owner Rob Dyson has seen and experienced pretty much everything.  Now, with the word that the P1 category will not be a part of the show in North America starting in 2014, he refuses to see it as a negative for Dyson Racing, but instead has chosen to view it as a positive step for the future of the sport.

“I pretty much knew from the beginning that P1 would not be a part of the series moving into the future.  It was no surprise,” stated Rob.

“I prefer to look at it as a positive for the racing in general.  Yes, it is a setback for us at Dyson Racing, just like it is a setback for Greg Pickett and his team. 

"It’s especially a shame as it looks like the addition of Rebellion should make the P1 battle pretty entertaining this season.  We stated our case to the board, but they decided to not include the class.  Their reasons are understandable – the class was under-subscribed last season and with new regulations coming into play starting with 2014 in the ACO sanctioned series, it makes sense to do away with the class.”

It is the keeping with the four-classes (maybe five, depending on what happens with GX) that pleases Rob.  “With the four classes, it allows a place for almost everyone to compete, which is the best solution for where we are right now and will allow the sport to move forward.”

Rob, who was on the ISC Board of Directors at one time, is “quite pleased with the progress of the merger.  I believe it has been a good start so far and from what I’ve seen, nobody has had things 100% their way – it’s been give and take between both Grand-Am and the ALMS.  Everybody is taking this merger serious.  They intend to take the best of both series and merge it into a better series.  I truly believe it is the intention of all involved to make this work.”

Thus far, the announcements have been pretty much without much detail, but eventually that will change.  “There is a lot of work to do and many things to consider when deciding on the future of the sport and, as such, there are still a whole lot of blanks so far concerning regulations for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.  That makes it difficult for us to plan for the future, so we’re going to just concentrate on 2013 and wait to see where the regulations fall as far as 2014 goes before making any decisions.  The way I see it going, they’ll take 2014 and see how it goes, make adjustments for 2015 and then take into account what is happening in the rest of the world as we head into 2016 and beyond.”

Endurance racing went through some tough times, but it was North America that sort of kicked off a renaissance of sorts, one that has continued to grow.  “I truly believe it was the efforts of Don Panoz and his crew that kept the sport of endurance racing front and center through the years.  They kept the diversity of the sport alive, which has enabled it to grow on a worldwide basis.  If it wasn’t for the ALMS, there would be no WEC right now.”

As far as the rest of the world is concerned, it is important to keep aligned with the ACO regulations, but Rob feels that the series should also do what is right for North America.  “We’ve seen some divergence from the ACO regulations through the various seasons and we need that.  We race differently over here and we have different demands.  I look back on the IMSA GTP days with pride – that was some very good racing back then.  If John Bishop hadn’t had the vision to do what he did, I don’t believe we’d have been as successful.  The way the Group C regulations were written wouldn’t have worked in North America.  Our fans would not have reacted well to the fuel economy runs that Group C racing featured for many years.  Eventually it was recognized that it wasn’t working – Le Mans even had to change the fuel restrictions to allow the teams to race.  Nobody wanted to see the cars flat out in qualifying, then watch an economy run for the race.  Bishop took the best of Europe and then made regulations that would work for our market.  That brought in the manufacturers and made the show even better.”

“I believe that is what the combined efforts of this group is looking to do that again.  They want racing that will fit in with the International way, but make it work for our market.  I have faith that they will do what is best for the sport.  It isn’t easy and I think the news will come out slowly, but I truly believe that the intention is to make this work.”

As a fan, I truly hope that Rob is right.  The opportunity to make the sport better is here now.  Let’s hope that the right decisions are made as we move into the future.

Gary Horrocks