Ryan Dalziel is looking to put the memory of a disappointing 'Rolex 24 At Daytona' last month firmly behind him as the Scottish racer returns to Homestead Miami Speedway this weekend, Friday 4th - Saturday 5th March, for Round 2 of the 2011 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, the 'Grand Prix of Miami'.
While a variety of issues ultimately put paid to Dalziel's hopes of a repeat victory at the Daytona International Speedway and Grand-Am's marquee event in January, the Orlando-based 28-year-old is confident that this weekend's outing will see an immediate return to form for the Starworks Motorsport team and the #8 Ford Riley Daytona Prototype he'll share alongside Canada's Mike Forest.
"Our retirement at Daytona was certainly a tough one to swallow," reflected Dalziel, a two-time winner in Grand-Am Daytona Prototypes. "We can't believe we had the weekend we did after a productive and positive build-up to the event, probably our best yet. Sadly we got caught up in other people's misfortunes and ended up calling it a day, not wanting to risk the motor just a few hours from the checkered.
"We've regrouped though and I think all of us are really viewing this weekend's race at Homestead as the start of the regular season, with Daytona almost a stand-alone event due to its stature and the demands it places on everyone. Mike and I have had a couple of good tests at Homestead over the winter and we're confident we'll have good car there."
Dalziel, who finished fifth overall in last year's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Driver Standings, has a solid track record at the 2.3-mile, 11-turn speedway road course at Homestead but he maintains there's room for improvement.
"As a team we've always been really fast there and had good finishes but frankly not spectacular finishes! It's been one of those tracks where something's always happened and we've ended up fighting for fourth or fifth instead of the win. I'm looking forward to getting out there this weekend with Mike and changing that.
"I have to say I'm really happy to be partnered with Mike for a second season. It's one of the few times in my career where I've enjoyed continuity with my team-mate. I think it's important for the team and good for our relationship with Bill Riley, our engineer. We expected more at Daytona because of the stability within the team so it's down to us to make sure that those positives translate into on-track success!"
Round 2 of the 2011 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, the 'Grand Prix of Miami' starts at Noon EST on Saturday 5th March, with the 2-hour 45-minute endurance sprint broadcast live across North America on SPEED - www.speedtv.com
For further information on the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series log on to: www.grand-am.com