Driver Spotlight: Ryan Dalziel
Driver: No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP
How excited are you to be returning to full-time IMSA competition next year with VisitFlorida.com Racing?
“It was a strange year to sit back and not be involved with IMSA. I’m glad I go to go and do the stuff I did but one of the main reasons I came to the States was to race sports cars full time there. I’m a big fan of what Troy Flis has done with VisitFlorida.com Racing over the past couple of years. I was definitely impressed with their 2015 season. I’m definitely proud to be a part of it.
“Obviously there’s a nice tie-in is the fact that Florida has been my home for the last ten years and the team is just up the street in Daytona and VisitFlorida being the sponsor. I’m looking forward to it.
“There’s only one conflict. It’s never ideal going into seasons knowing that you have to give up the drivers’ championship but much like last year with EFFORT Racing, the focus for me is team and manufacturers. I don’t think drivers’ should really celebrate drivers’ championships when it’s a team sport.”
What do you think the biggest challenge will be in 2016?
“For me, personally, I think it will be getting back in a Daytona Prototype racing after being in WEC for the past season. The challenge is going to be the same as I faced in 2012 when I was jumping between two endurance sports car championships with very different rules packages and cars. Even down to the little things, restart rules are so different.
“With PWC, it was such a different car and different organization as far as the sprint format and the rules being quite similar to what I can remember from open-wheel stuff.
“I think going back and forward between IMSA and WEC and the driving standards… IMSA is notoriously one of the roughest. You get banged around quite good from your competition so getting back into that will probably be a little bit of a shock. With Daytona being one of the more smoother races, hopefully by Sebring I will get my aggressiveness back!”
How do you think the chemistry will be between yourself and Marc Goossens, who you had previously worked with?
“I think that’s actually the easiest part, in working together with Marc. I’ve learned that chemistry is one thing but if you can find teammates that like the same car, understand the same thing, work the same way… I learned a lot from Marc in 2010 with Jag. It was probably the roughest seasons both of us had as far as performance went.
“I considered myself still pretty fresh back then in endurance/sports car racing. Marc’s experience off the track rubbed off me a lot. I think that year gave me a big step forward in my career.
“I know a big part of Troy’s regrouping for this year was making sure that both drivers, and even our third driver, have a similar goal and similar chemistry.”
Do you expect 2016 to be a busier year for you, travel-wise or similar to last year when you did WEC and PWC?
“I think there comes a point where you can burn yourself out and it’s too much. But when I looked at the schedules, this is actually going to be a much easier schedule compared to what 2015 was. The summer months with PWC and WEC back to back was pretty rough.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better schedule. I’m not one of these drivers that can do eight or nine races in a year. I want to race every weekend and that’s the way I’ve always been.
“It’s funny when Scott [Sharp] and I talked about the potential of me doing the IMSA deal, the first thing he said was, ‘Hey I know you want to drive every weekend and we’ll figure out how to make this happen.'”
Do you have any off-season plans?
“I just got finished with Bahrain. It was a difficult season with WEC. I think it was bitter-sweet with a new chapter of Tequila Patron ESM starting next year. But the work starts.
“We have Thanksgiving, a couple of award ceremonies to go to, both with the Scottish Motor Racing Club and the Porsche Night of Champions.
“It’s a busy couple of months but the nice thing about living in Florida is that pretty much everything from January through April is a drive away. So I’m looking forward to some time home and getting ready for a new season.”