What does the winner of the 2019 F3 Americas Championship do for an encore? How about claiming a podium finish in the 1st race of 2020 in the IMSA Prototype Challenge at Daytona International Raceway.
I had the pleasure of catching up with Dakota Dickerson, 2015 Team USA Scholarship winner, to discuss his great start to 2020 and his Indy Dreams.
Dakota still dreams of the Indy 500 someday, but in the interim he is making the best of his partnership with Ligier and MLT Motorsports on the IMSA Circuit.
To give some context, IMSA Prototype Challenge is a six-event endurance racing championship with two drivers sharing a car to race for either one hour 45 minutes or three hours. The championship requires that an FIA rated bronze driver (for example, my teammate Dean Baker) pairs up with an FIA rated silver driver (myself). We believe we’ve created a strong lineup for the year. Dean is an experienced prototype racer and competed against us in the 2019 season. Unlike the junior formula car championships that we had been competing in, Prototype Challenge allows different manufacturers to compete in the same class. We all have the same tires, engine and transmission but we can choose between chassis manufacturers. We will be competing in the Ligier JSP3 which is a very nice continuation of our relationship and success with Ligier in the F4 US Championship (Ligier JSF4) and F3 Americas Championship (Ligier JSF3). The other popular chassis is the Norma M30 which typically yields great straight-line speed but lacks in aerodynamic grip relative to the Ligier. It creates great racing and a fun, competitive dynamic in the paddock between the two manufacturers.Dakota Dickerson
MLT Motorsports was only formed less than one year ago, having made its debut at Sebring, so this year represented its first-ever visit to Daytona International Speedway the first week of January for the opening race of the new season. There was a lot of work involved but we made great progress during the three practice sessions, and both myself and Dean felt very comfortable in the car. The only real item up in the air was our aero settings. We knew we couldn’t compete with the Normas in a straight line, but with the impending rainy weather on race day, some extra aero seemed like our best bet to challenge for a win. Dean spent the final practice session prepping for qualifying and we all felt strong heading into Saturday.Dakota Dickerson
Our next event will be at Sebring International Raceway during the “Super Sebring” event in March. We will be working really hard as a team to continue improving, and I’m fully confident we will be able to challenge for another win there as well. None of this would be possible without the support and guidance of Dr. Mike Thompson, MLT Motorsports, Ligier Automotive NA and all of our personal partners. Likewise, I really appreciate you all for following my progress and I hope to have a “winning” blog for all of you come March. In the meantime, I’ll be active on social media via Instagram/Twitter (@dickersonracing) and Facebook/YouTube (Dakota Dickerson Racing)!Dakota Dickerson
Enjoy Episode 25…
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