Less than a month after winning America’s Blue Riband sportscar race, the Daytona 24-Hours, Wishaw’s Ryan Dalziel has clinched a dream drive with one of the icons of motorsport; Jaguar.
The 27-year-old Scot will pilot the RSR Jaguar team’s all-new GT2 car in the American Le Mans Series which gets underway with the Twelve Hours of Sebring in Florida on March 20.
“It’s pretty much a dream come true for me,” Dalziel admitted from his Orlando home. “Jaguar is one of the most famous names in world motorsport and for me, a Brit and a Scot, to be racing for Jaguar in the States is brilliant.
“I naturally grew up following Jaguar’s racing heritage and admiring their cars. This is my first opportunity to drive for a manufacturer, and it’s is for Jaguar Cars. It doesn’t get much better than this.
“I know I am with a great crew and excellent co-drivers. The GT field in the ALMS this season looks really strong and I hope I can contribute to Jaguar’s successful return to sportscar racing.”
Dalziel will partner team boss Paul Gentilozzi and Marc Goossens in the RSR line-up and the Scot, who has an option to remain with the team for 2011, is eyeing up an assault on the Le Mans 24-hours in June.
“The team has an entry, but at the moment I’m the reserve driver for Le Mans,” he continued. “I’ll certainly be in France for the race, and it will be fantastic to be part of the Jaguar assault at Le Mans.
“The other important factor is the team’s second car is on the reserve list for the French endurance race, so if another GT2 car drops out we’ll take its place and that would guarantee me a race seat at Le Mans.”
Jaguar and Scots have a winning reputation at Le Mans. The famous Edinburgh-based Ecurie Ecosse team, led by Ron Flockhart, won back-to-back races in 1956 and ‘57, while Bute’s Johnny Dumfries won in 1988 with his TWR Jaguar.
Jaguar has won Le Mans overall seven times between 1951 and 1990, making it the most successful British manufacturer in the event’s history. But it has not been represented at the 24-Hours race since the XJ220 GT project of the early 1990s.