This is the first model of the MK III, shown
Bill Riley explains: "Narrow sidepods worked well in the
wind tunnel, but the customers thought it was too far out at the
1994: Wild Concepts
IMSA was introducing a new prototype sportscar for the 1994 season,
the World Sports Car. Riley & Scott debuted their design model of
the new car during the 1993 season.
Initial interest was slow, but midway through the 94 season,
Rob Dyson called on Riley & Scott to improve the Ferrari / Spice
he was currently running. This was the start of quite a productive relationship.
Bill Riley: We then sold two cars to Rob. The first car was designed
and built in only four months!
Bob (Riley), along with renowned aircraft designer John Roncz,
used Computational Fluid Dynamics to finalize the body and wing design.
CFD basically uses a computer program to simulate a wind tunnel test
on a design. This was not common in racing until five years later.
I believe that was one of the reasons for the cars success.
1995: Battling Horses
The first MK III was delivered to Dyson Racing just before the start
of the 1995 IMSA season opener at Daytona. Although the new car struggled
in its first two outings, an unbelievable story of success was about
In just its third race, the new MK III, piloted by James Weaver, not
only set the fastest lap but finished first overall in an accident-marred
event at Atlanta. Ferraris were second and third, and the whole of the
second half of the decade would effectively be between these two machines
in North America.
Atlanta began a string of podium finishes at every race for the rest
of the season, including wins at Watkins Glen, Sears Point and Mosport.
At the season finalé in New Orleans, Dyson Racing placed the
MK IIIs first & second overall.
The high speeds at Le Mans didnt suit the
R&S. The Triple Crown(Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans) of 96
looked, and was, an impossibility.
1996: Running like a Clock
For the next two seasons - and beyond - Dyson would not be alone running
the MK III. Several new teams would enter, including Lee Payne and the
R & S factory run two-car team for Doyle Racing. The result was
domination. Doyle Racing, with driver Wayne Taylor, started the 96
season with victory at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona (photo) and followed
that with another at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
MK III teams would combine to score overall victories at Texas, Sears
Point, Mosport, Dallas and the Daytona Finalé.
A total of nineteen podium finishes that year, punctuated by sweeping
the podium at Dallas and Texas. The 96 season ended with Wayne
Taylor being crowned IMSA champion.
Bill Riley adds Winning Daytona and Sebring with the factory team
was the best. Ferrari was not happy about that. It should be mentioned
that the Ferrari 333SP was a formidable foe and the competition between
the two marques was fierce. Max Papiss now famous charge in the
Doran Ferrari, during the last hours of the 96 Rolex 24, was the
highlight of this battle. (Daily sportscar.com covered the 333 story
earlier in the year).
1997: Twice around the clock
In 1997 it would be Dyson Racings turn to take the MK III to its
second Rolex 24 victory. A second Sebring victory would be denied, although
the margin to the winning Andy Evans Ferrari was less than a minute.
However, the MK III was able to finish second & third in the 12
hour endurance classic. Just as the year before, the MK III would continue
to be the car to beat.
Wayne Taylor (above) would soon move across to the Ferrari, and Dyson
Racing would dominate MK lll achievements. With a total of twenty podium
appearances, wins at Road Atlanta, Watkins Glen, Sears Point, Las Vegas
and Laguna Seca, and a championship for Dysons driver Butch Leitzinger,
the season was complete. EFR and James Weaver completed a 1-2-3.
1998: Working both sides of the Pond
1998 would see some changes in sports car racing in North America.
IMSA would now be known as Professional Sports Car Racing (PSCR) and
a new series, the United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC), would
begin. The factory Doyle team had left the scene, but several new teams
including Intersport, Support Net and Jim Matthews, would race the MK
III. Dyson Racing would enter their MK IIIs in both series, scoring
wins in the PSCR events at Lime Rock, Road Atlanta & Mosport.
That, along with four other podium finishes, would earn Butch Leitzinger
a second championship. Laguna Seca also would be won by a MK III, but
this race would go to a new challenger to North America, the BMW powered
Rafanelli team. Over in the USRRC, Dyson Racing would take first place
in four of the series five events and James Weaver would become
the new series first champion.
Team Raffinalli's MKIII used BMW power and some
interesting bodywork modifications.
Also in 1998 several European teams selected the MK III to compete
in the FIA Sports Car Championships, then known as the ISRS. It took
until the final race of the season at Kylami in the hands of the Solution
F race team for the MK III to see victory lane.
But throughout the season, Solution F along with Target 24 and Rafanelli,
took the MK III to a total of nine podium finishes including a 2nd through
5th place sweep at the famous Nurburgring.
1999: Back in the USA
1999 began with the USRRC once again sanctioning
24 hours and Dyson Racing again in victory lane.
That would be the third win in four years for the R & S chassis
in this grueling event.
For 1999 the Rafanelli team took their R & S and headed across
the Atlantic for the ALMS. The Target 24 team stayed and was able score
three podium finishes with their MK III even though they faced an overwhelming
contingent of very capable Ferrari 333SP teams that year.
It would be an abbreviated season for the USRRC, as they would call it
quits after just the third race of the season.
Don does a "Le Mans"
More important than the death of the USRRC would be the birth of the American
Le Mans Series. The first race for the new series would be the classic
12 Hours of Sebring, boasting one of the largest prototype fields in a
There were a total of eleven R & S MK IIIs, including new entries
from George Robinson and Tom Volk. Even against factory efforts from Panoz,
Audi and the eventual Le Mans winning BMW LMRs, the MK III held its own.
Team Rafanelli, now using a Judd V-10 and some very interesting bodywork
modifications, was able to qualify second overall and set the fastest
In the end, one of the BMWs beat the R & S of Dyson Racing - by less
than 10 seconds for one the races closest finishes ever.
Road Atlanta was the next race and Rafanelli again showed off his new
combination of Judd power with the R & S chassis. They were able to
set the fastest lap and secure the overall victory.
With the mechanical genius of crew chief Pat Smith,
Dyson placed their MK III in the
top four in five events, never placing below sixth. R & S
consistency and expert preparation won out against faster machinery.
But the real story of the year was Dyson Racings Elliott Forbes-Robinson.
He parlayed consistent driving and the reliability of the MK III into
the ALMS drivers championship. EFR, with driving assist from Butch
Leitzinger and James Weaver,
2000: Divided attention causes Millenium bug
Because of Riley & Scotts commitment to the new LMP program
for Cadillac, the updates needed to keep the MK III competitive in the
2000 ALMS would not come. Although in the newest series, the Grand American
Road Racing Association, the MK III would get new life. The Dyson and
Robinson Racing teams would combine to put the R & S on the top
of the podium six times. James Weaver would win the drivers championship
and Riley & Scott would win the constructors championship
for the Grand Am inaugural season.
2000 saw three more podium finishes in the ISRS for the MK III highlighted
by a first place at Monza, but the pit stop rule in this series favoured
the 333s and engine reliability in some of the MKllls was a major
handicap. R&M enjoyed considerable success with their Judd V10-powered
car though, including that Monza win.
2001: an update odde"C"
In 2001, the long awaited updated version, the MK III C, made its debut
in the ALMS. Meanwhile in the Grand Am the original MK III was still
the car to beat. Dyson Racing scored five wins, James Weaver repeated
as drivers champion and Riley & Scott was again the manufacturers
2002: Its alway a rule change that kills a car
Its now 2002 and the ageless MK III is into its eighth season
of racing. Because of the upcoming rule changes in Grand Am, this would
probably be the last Rolex 24 for the MK III. Unfortunately mechanical
troubles hit both of Dysons cars and neither was able to finish
the race. Dyson would continue with the MK III in selected races in
both series. Although not as competitive as it once was in the ALMS,
the MK III finished a very respectable fourth at Sebring. Ironically
its fourth place finish was one spot behind its own replacement, the
C, entered by Jim Matthews a car that Dyson Racing
chose to sample and then spurn. Theyd previously chosen to abandon
the Reynard for their MK llls too. The Grand Am series saw the MK III
in victory lane four times, beating out the much newer Dallara chassis.
The upcoming Grand Am finalé at Daytona looks to be the swansong
for this venerable racecar.Over its eight year career the MK III has
taken on all comers. Aside from a few very well-funded factory efforts,
the MK III has defeated and outlasted every other prototype introduced
during its career.
Bill Riley tells us a great story to sum up this racecar. I was
at a race in 2000 with the Cadillacs, when an Audi engineer walked up
to me, handed me a piece of paper, said great car and walked
off. The paper turned out to be a report from a wind tunnel test that
Audi had conducted on a MK III that they must have borrowed from a European
Great car, we concur.