Ryan Dalziel heads into the Christmas period eagerly anticipating the New Year and a brand new challenge in the Grand-Am Rolex Series, having sewn up a deal with Miami-based Alegra Motorsports.
The former Rolex 24 at Daytona GT class champions graduates to the Daytona Prototype class next season, and he 26-year old Dalziel has been handed the task of helping transform the squad into a racewinner following his own taste of the top step.
Dalziel's first competitive outing for the team, headed by owner-driver Carlos de Quesada, will be the 47th edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona - where he finished as runner-up in 2007 - in late January, where he will share Alegra's BMW-Riley with de Quesada, Chapman Ducote, Jean-Francois Dumoulin and Tomas Enge. The new-look line-up will take to the track for the first time at the scheduled Daytona test days between 3–5 January, when preparations for the 2009 season will begin in earnest for the entire Grand-Am field.
“We're delighted to have Ryan on the team for 2009,” de Quesada admitted, “I'm looking forward to driving alongside him and seeing his input into the team as someone with an exceptionally strong record in racing Daytona Prototypes. Ryan's familiar with the package we're set to race, he knows the circuits and he's a proven winner. This is an exciting time for Alegra and we can't wait to get going in the New Year with our assault on the Rolex 24.”
Dalziel will partner de Quesada throughout the season and, having scored his maiden Daytona Prototype win at Laguna Seca last year - ironically also behind the wheel of a BMW-Riley - the Scot is looking to continue building his burgeoning sportscar reputation. Alegra has further strengthened its line-up by adding Dalziel's race-winning engineer from last season, Travis Low, while recruiting crew chief Andy Green, who worked with the Scottish ace at Pacific Coast Motorsports.
“I'm really excited to join Alegra Motorsports for 2009,” Dalziel commented before heading back to his native Scotland for Christmas, “I think we're going to have an extremely strong on-track package by running the BMW-Riley, and I'd like to thank Carlos de Quesada and Ken Costanzo for having faith in me and bringing me onboard to lead the team's assault. I feel like we're set to have a long-term future together as a team and, while I think [2009 is] going to be a season of growth, all the ingredients are there to be successful.”
Dalziel will take time to check out the Rangers v Celtic football match at Ibrox Park during his return home and, having had the honour of representing Rangers in the inaugural Superleague Formula - steering his 'home' club to a number of top ten finishes in the series - there is no doubt who he will be supporting on 27 December.