It was an exciting week for Bentley Team Dyson Racing leading up to the Pirelli World Challenge at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. The addition of long time Bentley driver Guy Smith, who has an extensive history driving for Rob Dyson, created a buzz both in the paddock and with Bentley enthusiasts. The weekend’s events would live up to the hype as Smith reached the podium in Sunday’s event.
Qualifying went really well for Bentley Team Dyson Racing as Smith put the #20 car in P2 and Chris Dyson in the #16 Bentley Continental GT3 was 11th. Coming in to the weekend, there had been a BOP (balance of power) adjustment to all of the turbo-charged cars to compensate for the thin air at the race track’s elevation. It was determined after qualifying that Smith’s Continental had exceeded the maximum amount of boost allowed by those rules and he was stripped of his qualifying time and sent to the back of the field.
Smith’s qualifying time had been less than 1/2 second of the pace of pole winner Johnny O’Connell. The field was so competitive that Dyson qualified 12th with a time that was only 4/10th of a second slower than Smith. “We weren’t that far off,” Dyson said, adding that the team would make only minor adjustments to his Bentley before sending it to the grid. “Hopefully in the race we’ll be in the mix.”
Guy Smith showed that he hadn’t forgotten his way around the highly technical 3.048-mile course. With his quick car, he moved through the field, but wouldn’t catch the leaders. Smith would finish ninth, Dyson in 20th.
Sunday started better for Bentley as Smith had put down the sixth quickest time the day before. Dyson would start 13th. Both Bentley had good starts and began working through the field.
Most of the race was a frustrating affair for both cars. Dyson was stuck behind a group of cars and found himself in 14th at the checkered flag.
Smith moved steadily through the field until he caught up to Ryan Dalziel’s Porsche 911. That set up 30 or so minutes of thrilling racing action. The cameras were trained on the pair for most of the race as Smith would get an edge on Dalziel through one corner, only to give it up the next. Smith would lay down the fastest lap of the race, but still was having trouble getting around them.
At one point, the two touched as Dalziel’s car reacted to a curb. The contact pushed Smith off the track. He was able to maintain control and with less than 8 minutes to go, made the pass to move into third place. That pass earned Smith the “Move of the Race” award, an award that Dyson has won twice already this season.
The Pirelli World Challenge moves next to California where The Pursuit will be reporting live. “I expect both Guy and I will have very good races next weekend at Sonoma,” Dyson said. Can’t wait!