IMSA: Dalziel impressing at ESM

IMSA: Dalziel impressing at ESM


IMSA: Dalziel impressing at ESM

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Extreme Speed Motorsports team co-owner Scott Sharp makes no effort to hide his appreciation and enthusiasm for the newest member of the ESM family. Ryan Dalziel earned a reputation as a fierce competitor in Grand-Am Daytona Prototypes, a team leader in the World Endurance Championship, and was a standout in open-wheel racing before Champ Car folded, but the Scot was a bit of a mystery to many of the top prototype teams in the American Le Mans Series.

That changed with the merger of the ALMS and Grand-Am as the defending LMP2 champions courted the 32-year-old as a potential teammate for Sharp in ESM’s No. 1 HPD ARX-03b. Nine races into their partnership, Sharp told RACER Dalziel has quickly become a driving force within the Tequila Patron-sponsored outfit.

“Love the guy,” he said. “Just super thrilled that we were able to get him and super thrilled that it has worked out the way it has. You know, we interviewed a bunch of different guys and actually, I started talking to Ryan as early as July of last year, and really felt like he flew under the radar for whatever reasons. And the minute we signed him, the amount of people that said, ‘Wow, you just got the fastest guy in DP’ was impressive.

“And regardless of whatever had happened before, he’s the chance to show that statistically, he’s a complete package. He fits in with the team, he’s a team player, and he’s faster than anything. He’s smart with equipment. We like the car set up almost identically, which is great. It’s really working out well.”

Asked to elaborate on the contributions Dalziel brings to ESM, Sharp was effusive in his praise for last weekend’s TUDOR Championship polesitter.

“I think Ryan, unquestionably, is very quick,” said Sharp. “I think almost every day he’s in a car, he’s very quick. He’s not an on-again, off-again guy at certain tracks. He’s always quick. I think whatever the environment he’s been in before have really matured him to being a real team player and understanding it takes all kinds of personalities and make-ups to comprise a two-car front running prototype team.

“And he’s not demanding: He’s not saying ‘I’ve got to be the guy’ or ‘I’ve got to go put up the big qualifying number.’ He just goes and does that, but that’s not his attitude. He’s more than happy to help the other drivers, and he really wants to see the whole team succeed. And I just think that’s what I mean when I say he’s the complete package. Technically strong on the racetrack, but equally strong, I would say, when he interacts with the entire team.”

And speaking of his pole-winning lap at Road America, Dalziel not only shocked his TUDOR Championship Prototype rivals by clearing the best DP by 0.321 seconds, his performance even managed to stun his teammate.

“It was an amazing lap, I’ll tell you; honestly, we really thought we were a third- or fourth-place car,” Sharp admitted. “We made a couple of small changes for qualifying that worked well. And then Ryan, obviously, just took the car to a whole other level. He said it best after. He goes, ‘I left my balls somewhere out on one of those corners.’ And he did.”