Ryan Dalziel says he’s looking forward to the “familiar challenge” of embarking on a globe-trotting season with Era Motorsport, which is set to combine its IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship efforts with a full season in the European Le Mans Series.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona and Asian Le Mans Series class-winning squad is set to become the first team entity to campaign full-season entries in all three regional Le Mans series in the same year.
While Dalziel was not part of Era’s Asian LMS LMP2 Am title-winning effort with a Jota Sport-run Oreca 07 Gibson, the 38-year-old U.S.-based Scot will join Kyle Tilley and Dwight Merriman for the ELMS season, 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as the Michelin Endurance Cup races within the WeatherTech Championship.
The trio and Frenchman Paul-Loup Chatin are coming off LMP2 class victory in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona and head into this weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring second in the Endurance Cup standings.
“People that follow me over the years know that I’m happiest when I’m racing a lot,” said Dalziel.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity with Kyle, Dwight and Era that I get to go and do a lot of the things I’ve done in the past.
“I’m doing it with a good team. We’re for sure going to have a lot of fun.”
Dalziel boasts overseas sports car racing experience primarily in the FIA World Endurance Championship, having claimed class honors in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012 with inaugural title winners Starworks Motorsport prior to a two-year WEC stint with Tequila Patron ESM in the WEC in 2015-16.
Both previous programs came in the LMP2 class, the same category Dalziel has found himself back in.
“I’ve been involved in a number of international programs,” he said. “I think experience was a big part of Kyle’s hiring me, what I’ve learned over the years.
“I hope that once we got to Daytona they realized they made a good decision.
“I try and keep things pretty calm and do my best and motivate the team. I think with the support of IDEC, it’s a huge part of it for us.
“One thing I’ve learned with the Patron [ESM] and Starworks years abroad, you can’t do it just based in the U.S. It’s very difficult and very expensive.
“I think the combination of Era’s guys and the IDEC support over there is going to have us hitting the ground running.”
Dalziel, Tilley and Merriman will race under the IDEC Sport banner in the ELMS, although will have several Era crew supporting them in their endeavors.
The six-round ELMS season kicks off in Barcelona on April 18.
“ELMS is probably the only [major sports car] championship I never actually competed in,” said Dalziel.
“When you look at the depth of the field in P2, with [15+] cars, and now with the introduction of the Pro-Am championship, it’s really important.
“They’re almost echoing what IMSA created with the Bronze mandate.
“I’m definitely excited and I think we’re all just got our fingers crossed that schedules stay as there is and there’s no more changes and we don’t have any more canceled races.
“I’m looking forward to a familiar challenge but also something very new at the same time.”
Tilley on Team’s Global Expansion
Era team owner Tilley said its program utilizing Oreca LMP2 machinery across multiple series and teams “escalated pretty quickly” with the Asian LMS effort being added relatively late.
“Initially it was going to be IMSA and ELMS,” he explained.
“Then looking at costs, doing the Asian Le Mans Series it became nearly… not more expensive than what it was going to cost us to go testing for the same amount of track time.
“If you look at the amount you learn doing race championships with traffic management with the P3s and GT3s, we thought that was the best way to go.
“It’s pretty intense and pretty ambitious. But we’re having fun with it so far.”
In addition to the remaining WeatherTech Championship races, full ELMS season and Le Mans, Era has 15 additional events scheduled for the historic racing arm of its company.