Dyson Racing gave the new Lola-Mazda LMP2 prototype a competitive debut outing on the final day of American Le Mans Series testing at Sebring.
Choosing to run the car on just one of the three test days, the combination of Chris Dyson, Butch Leitzinger and Marino Franchitti got to within less than half a second of the Lowe's Fernandez Acura.
With Porsche withdrawing from ALMS for the time being, Dyson enter 2009 with an entirely new car that marries Mazda's two-litre turbo engine with Lola's latest LMP2 chassis.
Setting its sights on LMP2 glory in a field that will be depleted by Porsche's withdrawal and the graduation to LMP1 of two Acura teams, the drivers have already given the car a thumbs-up, with Leitzinger pleased to have a car that he can drive 'aggressively'.
“It is a very capable, straight-forward type of car,” agreed Butch Leitzinger. “I would say from a performance standpoint, one of its stronger advantages is the amount of attack you can throw at the car. You can drive this car very aggressively, and it likes it.
“I have found that to be a trait of a good race car: the harder you push it, the more confidence it instils. This is very beneficial in a long race when you are able to dictate to the car what you want from it for twelve hours rather than having the car call the shots.”