Interview with Ryan Dalziel

In an exclusive interview with Autosport-Atlas, Scotland's Ryan Dalziel gave on his thoughts on long-awaited Champ Car debut with Dayle Coyne Racing at this weekend's Toronto race, why it is likely to be more than a one-off and why he is in pole position for a full time drive with crack squad PKV in 2006

Interview with Ryan Dalziel

Q. Ryan ­ you've made it no secret that the Champ Car World Series was where you wanted to race for many years. How does it feel to finally get that chance?

RD: "It is the realisation of a dream. When Dario Franchitti came over to the US to start racing, I starting following it. I came over here regularly to watch him. I started on the Toyota Atlantic programme. I fell in love with the feeder system and since wanted to break into Champ Car.

"But this chance has all snowballed since Bruno Junqueira's accident in Indianapolis and Oriol Servia getting his ride at Newman Haas. Dale was just trying to fill his seat and my name kept coming up."

Q. What does PKV Racing think of all this? Aren't you still on their books as a consultant?

RD: "To be honest, if it wasn't for PKV I wouldn't be driving this weekend at all, so it is not a problem! They have kept pushing for the drive for me and Jim McGee [PKV General Manager] has been fantastic. Even when other drivers have been in the car after Bruno's accident they just kept pushing for me to get my chance."

Q. You've signed for just one race ­ this weekend at Toronto. Any chance it could be more?

RD: "I'm in for the rest of the season provided I don't mess anything up. It's not about money. It's a funded drive thanks to American Medical Response so I'm not bringing any to the team. There aren't many non-funded drives around at the moment so it is good to be able to be one of the few drivers on the grid able to say that.

"I might know after this weekend, but we'll have to see."

Q. But aren't you a Corvette driver in the American Le Mans Series this season with Pacific Coast Motorsport? Can you just give up and walk away from that drive?

RD: "Pacific Coast Motorsport have been fantastic and I owe them for this. They have said that when races clash they will find a replacement driver for me and I can come back to the car when they don't. Plus is keeps me in the picture in terms of sportscars."

Q. What are your hopes for this weekend's Toronto race? Is it a case of just staying out of trouble or can you record a good result?

RD: "I'm just hoping to be on the pace. The top four or five teams are pretty untouchable at the moment such as Newman Haas and PKV, so I'm hoping for just a consistent midfield run, or best of the rest. That's what Dale Coyne wants.

"The car has been capable of running in the top six so far this season. I would be really happy if I just finished in the top ten.

"I've got experience of the Toronto street course from my Toyota Atlantic days so I know how things work and know the tricks.

"I've only had five days of Champ Car testing. Two days 18-months ago with Walker racing, the two with PKV last November and the one with Dale Coyne at Indiana this week. So it will still be a steep learning curve."

Q. It has been rumoured that should Jimmy Vasser hang up his gloves at the end of the year then you could be in with a chance of driving with PKV in 2006. Does this drive help your quest for next year?

RD: "I think that is the exact situation with Jimmy. The way I understand it is that if Jimmy retires I'm the number one choice to replace him next season. But that's Jimmy's decision and I'm sure he'll be watching out for me on the track this weekend.

"I would never have been a title contender in my first season anyway, so this gives me the chance to get any bad luck and inexperienced mistakes out of the way before possibly driving for them."

Dalziel Targets Vasser's Seat
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