It was a weekend of high and lows for Bentley Team Dyson Racing and their two Bentley Continental GT3s. Competing in the Pirelli World Challenge on the street circuit of the Grand Prix of Long Beach, the team knew the potential was there for victory. They also realized that the 50 minute street racing format could also spell disaster because of it’s aggressive, close-quarters style racing.
Both Bentleys qualified well. The #16 car driven by Chris Dyson lined up 12th and the #20 car, driven by Butch Leitzinger, lined up 14th for the race’s standing start.
The race was frustrating for fans and drivers as only a third of the timed event was under the green flag. Disappointingly, Butch Letizinger’s #20 Continental GT3, was among those whose day was ruined. According to Dyson Racing, “an overeager rookie drilled him mid-corner” sending Leitzinger into the wall. The incident resulted in damage to both the front and the rear of the #20 car.
Chris Dyson, on the other hand, managed to avoid any major incidents. Starting from the sixth row, Dyson used the many yellow flags to his advantage by making up ground during the restarts. The yellows also helped to keep the leading pack of cars together, allowing him to pick off the cars in front of him one at a time.
With the last segment of the race able to run under green, the race developed into a head to head competition between drivers. Dyson would finally pass the Porsche 911 driven by Ryan Dalziel to move into second place. Dyson’s hard driving earned him the “Move of the Race” and he laid down the fastest lap time of the day.
Next up is a cross-country dash for the team as practice for the Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park begins on Thursday. Bentley Team Dyson Racing team manager Mike White believes the Dyson crew will be able to repair the #20 car in time for next weekend’s race. “We may miss the test day on Thursday,” White said. “But we should be able to make the race.”
Although the updated points weren’t available from the Pirelli World Challenge, a second place finish should help Chris Dyson’s standings as he was 15th before the start of the race.
There was a lot of fallout after the race. Many drivers and sports car fans took to the media and social media to vent about the poor driving that was allowed in Long Beach. After reviewing all the incidents, PWC has handed down more than a handful of penalties to the drivers (1/2 the field!!!), but hasn’t changed the finishing results, so this article is still correct. Sportscar365 has the complete list of penalties here.
PWC still hasn’t posted the updated drivers’ points standings, but I’ll update this article when it is available.
Sources: Dyson Racing, Pirelli World Challenge