After celebrating its 30th anniversary in motorsports this year, it came as a shock to many not to see the familiar Dyson Racing name on the full-season entry list for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
The Poughkeepsie, N.Y.-based outfit, which had been stalwarts of the American Le Mans Series for the last decade, was one of the top teams affected by the merger, as Dyson was in the middle of a three-year program with its Lola B12/60 Mazda.
With the P1 class being eliminated, and uncertainties hinging over the regulations in the Prototype class, it’s left one of America’s most successful sports car teams on the sidelines, for now.
“There was no real clear path for us,” Chris Dyson told Sportscar365. “We weren’t really in a position to gamble on where the rules were going to end up. When you’re looking at the traditional prototype entry and where we’ve been, there wasn’t a clear direction on that front.
“With our previous cars being in essence obsolete and not having an easily repurposed use, we thought it would be wise to take a step back and look at all of the options.”
Those options, according to the team VP and sporting director, include a switch to the GT ranks, ideally as a manufacturer-supported program.
Dyson revealed that they’re currently working on multiple projects that point towards a potential debut in the second half of the year.
“Some of the more meaningful discussions we’ve had with manufacturers have been leaning towards the GT side,” he said. “That seems where the bulk of future investment seems to be headed, at least until there’s a direction on the prototype side.
“From a personal standpoint, we’re still keeping a close eye on prototypes. They’re not completely off the radar screen.”
Despite no firm plans for 2014, Dyson said the core of the team has remained employed and is working on client-based projects, including a recent restoration of the team’s 2008 Lola-Mazda LMP2 car, which ran at Sebring earlier this month.
“We’ve also become more educated on the GT style of racing,” Dyson said. “The fastest growing formula is GT3. I think it’s going to be interesting to see where IMSA comes in with allowing them [in GTD]. World Challenge is allowing them in essentially unchanged.
“That’s going to be an interesting dynamic as we assess our decisions. But if we do go that route, I don’t see us eliminating the endurance element.”
Dyson’s timeframe for re-entry falls in line with Bentley’s targets of debuting its new Continental GT3 in North America, with the British manufacturer evaluating options in the TUDOR Championship GTD class or the Pirelli World Challenge.
Coincidentally, all three of Bentley’s factory drivers, Guy Smith, Andy Meyrick and Steven Kane, have driven for Dyson Racing in the past.
While Chris Dyson wouldn’t confirm the manufacturers the team’s been in discussions with, he admitted they’re not going to rush into a decision.
“Whenever you’re taking a step back from things… the key is to decide when you want to get back on the dance floor, and when you do it, you do it correctly,” he said. “We’ve been here before.
“There was a transition in the early ’90s that everybody forgets, but the team was pretty much out of racing from late ’91 until ’94. When we did come back, it was a very strong effort. I think we’re in a similar juncture right now.
“We obviously want to get back racing. That’s what we’re working on right now.”