Matos joins B-K Motorsports for Sebring

STAR MAZDA CHAMPION MATOS TO JOIN B-K MOTORSPORTS' BACH, COMSO AT SEBRING Saukville, Wis. - Raphael Matos made the most out of his test session with B-K Motorsports. The 24-year-old will join Guy Cosmo and Jamie Bach in the team's No. 8 ...

STAR MAZDA CHAMPION MATOS TO JOIN B-K MOTORSPORTS' BACH, COMSO AT SEBRING

Saukville, Wis. - Raphael Matos made the most out of his test session with B-K Motorsports. The 24-year-old will join Guy Cosmo and Jamie Bach in the team's No. 8 Mazda-powered Courage C65 for the 54th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the opening race of the 2006 American Le Mans Series.

Matos was awarded the seat in the LMP2 entry after testing with the team in October, an opportunity he received for winning the 2005 Star Mazda Championship. Team officials said Matos "did a terrific job with the car" during the test at California's Buttonwillow Raceway.

Cosmo and Bach, 2005 American Le Mans Series Rookies of the Year, are both former Star Mazda competitors; Cosmo won the 2002 championship. All three will take part in the American Le Mans Series Winter Test on Jan. 23-25 at Sebring International Raceway.

"I am very much looking forward to being teammates with Guy and Jamie," Matos said. "I am so thankful to Mazda and B-K for this opportunity. It really helps broaden our careers, as graduates of the Star Mazda Championship, when these programs are organized for us. Mazda has a great history in these long endurance races thanks to the rotary engine and we will do our very best to be around at the finish."

The opportunity for a top 2005 Star Mazda Championship driver to test with B-K Motorsports was announced in May at the American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio race weekend. Coincidentally Matos won the Star Mazda race at Mid-Ohio, the third of four straight wins to open the season.

"We are glad Raphael will be joining us at Sebring and it is great that there is the tie-in with the Star Mazda program," said Pat Kestner, co-owner of B-K Motorsports. "With Guy, Jamie and Raphael all being products of that series, it speaks volumes about Mazda's commitment to growing all racers through their careers in open wheel and closed wheel racing."

Bach and Cosmo made an immediate impact during their American Le Mans Series rookie season. They drove the No. 8 Mazda-powered Courage to victory at Mid-Ohio and posted eight podium finishes in nine races.

"The best part of having Guy, Jamie, and Raphael together is that they are three terrific representatives of the Star Mazda Championship, the American Le Mans Series and the Mazda brand," said John Doonan, Manager of Motorsports Team Development for Mazda North American Operations. "At Sebring it will be about surviving 12 grueling hours. We are confident in the Renesis rotary power to do that.and now we have three fine young men, who are products of the Mazda system, to steer us the rest of the way. We are proud of these drivers and we look forward to getting the car and team ready for the race."

The American Le Mans Series opens its season March 18 with the 54th running of America's greatest sports car race - the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The race will be telecast by SPEED Channel beginning at 10 a.m. and carried live in Europe by MotorsTV. Greenlight Television will distribute the race to more than 500 million households through three different weekly motorsports anthology programs. American Le Mans Series Radio, heard via www.americanlemans.com, will broadcast the race live in its entirety. Live Timing & Scoring will be available at www.americanlemans.com, as well.

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