SpeedSource owner, Sylvain Tremblay: “I’m very proud to congratulate Team Sahlen on their first win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca! They performed very well today, representing Mazda at their home track. It’s always exciting for me to see customer teams finish well!”
After a difficult weekend, the #70 Castrol Modspace Mazdaspeed Mazda RX-8 GT scored a 9th place finish.
Eleven turns, including the legendary ‘Corkscrew’ corner, make up the 2.2 mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca road course. The Salinas, California track features a total of 180 feet of elevation change. SpeedSource looked to build on last year’s podium finish at Mazda’s home track. This facility is also the home event for SpeedSource driver Jonathan Bomarito.
The #70 car struggled in early practice sessions, failing to set times in the top half of the GT field. Sylvain Tremblay qualified the car 9th on the grid. Seventeen GT cars took the track for the 2 hour and 45 minute event.
An early caution period 18 minutes into the race saw many GT teams, including the #70 Mazda head to pit lane for service. The SpeedSource car rejoined the field in 9th place. Tremblay maintained that position until the second full course caution, just before the two hour mark. While most GT teams tookto pit lane, the SpeedSource team elected to stay out and gain track position. This moved the #70 to third place at the restart on lap 32.
The chess match continued as cars on fresher tires worked past teams who had elected not to pit. Tremblay continued setting consistent lap times while staying out of trouble in traffic. The #70 Castrol Modspace Mazdaspeed Mazda came to pit lane with just under an hour and a half remaining. Jonathan Bomarito took over the car, exiting the pits in tenth place.
The #70 went to the attention of the SpeedSource crew for the final time with 43 minutes remaining. A quick pit stop allowed Bomarito to maintain his position on track. Low grip levels kept the Monterey native on his toes for the final stint.
Bomarito moved to 9th place in the last half hour, as many competitors made short final pit stops for fuel. The SpeedSource team would hold this position to the checkered flag. The disappointing finish capped a weekend of struggles for the team. This result moves SpeedSource to fourth in the championship, just three points ahead of the defending series champion in fifth place.