SpeedSource Takes Points Lead Away from Lime Rock Weekend Lakeville, CT -- After qualifying second for the Grand Am GT Classic Lime Rock SpeedSource scored an eleventh place finish, ending a streak of five straight top seven finishes to...
SpeedSource Takes Points Lead Away from Lime Rock Weekend
Lakeville, CT -- After qualifying second for the Grand Am GT Classic Lime Rock SpeedSource scored an eleventh place finish, ending a streak of five straight top seven finishes to start the 2007 Grand American Rolex season. Six races into the thirteen race season the driving duo of Nick Ham and Sylvain Tremblay sit atop the point standings on the basis of their two wins and four top five finishes.
"We are really struggling with the additional weight that Grand American put on the Mazda RX-8 after Virginia," commented Tremblay. "We can turn a fast lap but the weight on our small tires makes it so we can't sustain our pace in the same way that the other cars in the class can. The Mazda is an extremely nimble and strong package, but the rules adjustment made our cars a challenge to run up front over long green flag runs."
The rules adjustment that Tremblay refers to is an adjustment after the Virginia race to add 55 pounds to the Mazda RX-8. In the two races since that change the team has only been able to secure a seventh place finish at Mazda Raceway and a eleventh place finish at Lime Rock.
"We have been struggling to try to combat the extra weight but to no avail," added Team Technical Director David Haskell. "We were really hoping that the results at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca would be limited to that track. Lime Rock seemed to show that we are going to continue to struggle with the additional ballast. Hopefully Watkins Glen will be better for us."
Nick Ham qualified the car second for the two and half hour race around the 1.53 mile road course. Ham maintained second at the start of the race and even led in the middle of the race. Both Ham and Tremblay struggled throughout the race to battle the conditions that the extra weight added.
"We are really on a knife's edge to stay competitive out there," added Tremblay. "We can't afford to lose any of our momentum now so we are putting the car right at the limit through every turn. The car struggles through traffic as the other cars are able to be slightly off their line and regain their momentum. With our current weight we aren't able to do that."
Disappointment was doubled for the team this weekend as the #69 FXDD Mazda RX-8 also had a frustrating weekend. Drivers Emil Assentato and Nick Longhi both hail from near the track in the state of New York. The duo had many guests at the weekend and were hoping for a strong finish. A ninth place qualifying effort boded well for the #69. The car had made its way up to sixth place at one point in the race. Misfortune fell upon the #69 FXDD forty five minutes into the race when they were taken out of the race in a three car accident at turn two of the seven turn circuit.
"We wanted to get their car back out there but damage to the rear suspension was too extensive to repair," commented Haskell. "In addition the body work was collapsed around the exhaust. Later in the race another competitors had a fire from his body work touching his exhaust from an accident. I am happy we decided to retire the car. Our next race is at Watkins Glen in New York so hopefully we can get the New York boys a good finish in two weeks."
SpeedSource continues to lead the Driver's Championship, although only due to their two wins. Ham and Tremblay have 172 points, the same as another competitor, and only possess sole lead of the standings due to their two wins. The team also has sole possession of the lead in the Team Championship.
SpeedSource Race Engineering will next see action on June 9th when they will race at the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen. For the first time since Homestead the GT cars will share the track with the Daytona Prototype class cars. Television coverage will start at 11:00 AM on Speed TV.