2017 Year in Review: Austin Dyne
FINISH: 9th in Supercar points
2017 RESULTS: 11 starts, best finish 5th, 3 heat wins, 562 points
2016 RESULTS: 11 starts, best finish 5th, 198 points
THE GOOD: After a 2016 season that saw one of the sport’s youngest Supercar drivers take on the responsibility of leading his own race team, Dyne found himself back in the fray at a major, race-winning organization in 2017. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing stepped into Red Bull GRC for the first time to take control of Dyne’s program, adding another IndyCar and IMSA race and championship-winning pedigree to the Supercar paddock.
It didn’t take long for the group to gel, as Dyne won his first heat of the season in Louisville and finished sixth in that final. He added top-five runs in the June doubleheaders at New England and Ottawa, and the series’ debut in Indianapolis in July. Finally, the California native ended the year with two more heat victories in Seattle and Los Angeles—the latter representing his first victory at his home race.
THE BAD: The first race of Dyne’s season was actually in Louisville, as a mechanical gremlin in Memphis practice kept him out of the 2017 opener. It hurt him in the championship standings, keeping him to ninth place at year’s end; without the DNS, even earning minimum points—36 including heats, semifinals, and the final—in Memphis would have been enough to put him seventh in the final standings, which would have been a career best.
The fourth-year driver also did his best work setup work for the final by climbing up the field in heats and semifinals; he posted an average start of 9.0 in qualifying. It actually meant that Dyne managed to improve on his starting position in nearly every race in 2017, including two jumps from 10th to fifth over the course of an event, and had the largest increase from average start to average finish of any driver.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “We have a group of people who really know how to run a race team. (RLL has) a lot of resources. Maybe it’s taken us a little longer for us to mesh with each other, because it’s completely different worlds (from IndyCar). Rallycross is really special—it takes time, but we sped up our process in a three-month timespan. I’m really happy with where things are going, and I think we’re as prepared as every team here.”
2018 PROGNOSIS: Considering all the challenges he’s conquered over the past two years, Dyne has plenty to build on for the 2018 season, his fifth in a Supercar.
Photo credit: Louis Yio