Jeffery Segal Racing press release
Jeff Segal and No. 69 FXDD/SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 GT Team Ready For First 2011 Victory in Saturday’s Montreal 200
MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada (August 17, 2011) – With a pair of second-place finishes and a third-place showing already in the books this season, reigning GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT champion Jeff Segal, his co-champion teammate Emil Assentato and the No. 69 FXDD/SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 GT team, will be shooting for nothing short of their first victory of 2011 in Saturday’s Montreal 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The timed two-hour Montreal 200 sprint is scheduled to start at 11:15 a.m. local time and can be seen in same-day coverage on SPEED this Saturday, August 20, at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
“I love the track at Montreal,” Segal said. “I got my first taste of that track driving in the Ferrari Challenge, and I think I actually hold the track record there in a 360 Challenge car, which is nothing compared to what we are doing there this weekend, but I loved the place from the first lap I turned there.”
Segal and Assentato have been competitive this year even though Mazda RX-8 GTs haven’t necessarily been the car to beat within the current GRAND-AM rules structure. Although the high-speed and hard-braking characteristics of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve may not help the Mazdas close any gaps on the competition in Montreal, the No. 69 FXDD team will continue to rely on good race strategy, solid pit stops and total team effort.
“I am looking forward to it,” Segal said. “We have had a competitive car the last few races, which has been great. On paper, the track at Montreal really doesn’t suit our car with the long straightaways, but we’re definitely going to keep trying. The championship looks grim, but we are still pushing for that race win.”
After running in second place in the late stages of last Saturday’s Canadian Tire 200 at The Glen, Segal and his teammates ended up a disappointing 10th after joining several other top GT teams in missing the right race strategy. The finish dropped Segal and the team to sixth from fourth in the 2011 championship standings with 249 points, but they are just two points out of fifth place and trail the class-leading No. 88 Camaro team by 23 markers.
A win in either or both of the season’s final races would give Segal and the No. 69 squad a big boost in this year’s championship and legitimate crack at the final top three in the standings. After Saturday’s Montreal 200, the 2011 season concludes next month with the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Like this weekend’s Montreal 200, the Canadian Tire 200 at The Glen was a timed two-hour sprint, making the back-to-back races the two shortest events on the 2011 schedule.
“We could see Montreal come down to another fuel gamble by just about everybody in the field,” Segal said. “We liked the strategy that we used at The Glen but it is always a roll of the dice. It would just be nice to have some breaks fall our way in one of the year’s final two races, or both.”
Segal, Assentato and the No. 69 FXDD team have won at least one race every year in GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series since the 2008 season. Making sure they can have a fourth consecutive winning season is the team’s main priority. This year’s highlights have been second-place finishes at the Grand Prix of Miami in March and in June at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in addition to third in June’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
“We are going to do everything we can to get a win in the year’s final two races, if not a victory in both,” Segal said. “We have the car and crew, and Emil has been driving great lately. Now we just need to combine all of that with some good old fashion luck!”
The Montreal 200 schedule includes opening practice Thursday afternoon and final practice and qualifying on Friday. The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series schedule for race-day Saturday includes only the Montreal 200 at 11:15 a.m.
Noteworthy: Segal spends a lot of time in Montreal and other Quebec race tracks. “In the summers I spend a lot of time in Montreal with some of the Ferrari activities at Mont Tremblant, and the last few weeks I have been riding my bike training around the race track here in Montreal,” Segal said. “I have always loved that place, I think the track is fantastic, the crowd is great and the ambience is great downtown in Montreal with the NASCAR crowd.”