Ryan Dalziel will return to his familiar TruSpeed Autosport outfit for a Pirelli World Challenge program alongside Parker Chase this year, it was announced last week.
The program, in an Audi R8 LMS GT3, is rather different to the Scot’s drive with CRP Racing last year as he takes on a coaching role with Chase.
You and TruSpeed Autosport have a lot of history. How good is it to return to the team?
“For me it goes back to 2005 when it was Pacific Coast. In 2005 to 2007 I drove for Tyler [Tadevic] under the PCM banner and then in 2013 he drafted me in for PWC which we won and then got disqualified, and then they pulled the plug on the rest of the year.
“Then I was back again and coaching Sloan Urry in 2016 under Tyler again. We’ve talked on and off for the past few years about trying to work together and we’ve done some coaching on the side but he’s just never had a program that he can offer me.”
How did the deal come about?
“The call was pretty funny because he thought I’d signed the CRP deal. He called me to see if I had any guys I’d recommend to be in the seat alongside Parker.
“I said ‘I’m a little offended that you’re not offering me the deal!’ Literally four or five hours later, the deal was done. It all happened over the course of one afternoon a couple of days before we announced it.”
How much did you know about your co-driver Parker Chase before this came together?
“I actually watched Parker last year and always kept an eye on the GTS stuff because Ian James was a friend of mine so I was watching what he was doing.
“For a young kid, he’s got a lot of potential so part of my job will be to bring him up to speed. GT3 is a big step up, not as much with the cars but the driving, so I’m looking forward to a good car, a good program and team.”
What are your thoughts on the Audi GT3 you’ll be driving?
“I’ve driven the old Audi but I’ve not driven the current generation. It will be interesting to see how that compares to the old one. I’ve driven pretty much all of them at this point!
“I’m happy to be back in a mid-engined car but sad not to be continuing with Mercedes because I think it’s a great car and we had a fairly successful year but it was time to take a side-step and I think I did that.”
By only racing on the SprintX weekends, do you expect 2018 to be easier than last year?
“To me, I’d consider it a less stressful year. Going to a race track to coach is a very different mindset to going to race, both in your preparation of being there and before you get there.
“With the way IMSA is, everything is stepped up a lot this year and we’ve got a ton of testing planned. My ideal world and a big reason why we made that decision to do the SprintX deal was because I don’t want a full-time deal.
“Especially on the Long Beach weekend, it’s hard to do the double stuff and give both teams your full attention.
“As much as everything is stepping up on the IMSA side with Tequila Patron, to me it felt like the right thing to do in almost taking a little bit of a step back but to ultimately put more into both programs.
“I feel like if I did a full-time deal, both teams are sacrificed a little bit.”