Returning Grand-Am Cup ST Champions, Gaining More Mazda Strength for 2006 Sunrise, FL - With their 2005 Championship run still vivid in their minds, SpeedSource Race Engineering looks to the future. Taking one race at a time, they will return to...
Returning Grand-Am Cup ST Champions, Gaining More Mazda Strength for 2006
Sunrise, FL - With their 2005 Championship run still vivid in their minds, SpeedSource Race Engineering looks to the future. Taking one race at a time, they will return to the Grand-Am Cup Street Tuner (ST) class to defend their Team, Manufacturer, and Driver's Championships. For 2006, the question is how to improve an already well established championship Mazda effort. Team owner and driver Sylvain Tremblay already has the answer.
In mid-2005, Tremblay, Mazda, and SpeedSource Chief Engineer David Haskell decided to begin development of a 2006 Mazda RX-8 for the Grand-Am Cup ST class. SpeedSource is calling their version of the car, the "EVO II". The group began building this car with anticipation of growing competition, increased involvement from rival manufacturers, and the astounding growth of the ST class. The new RX-8 EVO II racecar will make its racing debut at the Grand-Am Cup season opener during the Rolex 24 Hour weekend. In late April, the team plans on introducing two more of these cars at VIRginia International Raceway.
"In June of 2005, development of the 2006 Mazda RX-8 was started. The 2006 No. 70, the first of three cars to be built to the EVO II specs, was tested before year-end. Its public debut was made at Daytona Test Days. Every part of the car was studied and improvements were made. We continued development on the chassis and the Renesis rotary engine which is now netting more horsepower than ever before. Drivability, safety, and driver comfort were also addressed. Improving on these issues is very instrumental in defending the title for both Mazda and SpeedSource. We are looking forward to the challenges that the 2006 season will bring, and hope to once again bring Mazda another Manufacturer's championship," Tremblay stated.
The 2006 No. 70 Mazda will be piloted by defending champions, Tremblay and Haskell. Tremblay and Haskell combined for five wins in 2005 while capturing the Team Championship. The duo finished out last year's season opener with a top-five finish, and look forward to the added horsepower the new No. 70 has to offer for this year's Daytona race. With support from Mazdaspeed and Mazda North American Operations, Tremblay and Haskell lead the way for an exciting SpeedSource driver line-up.
Scott Schlesinger and Ken Dobson will join SpeedSource once again in the No. 68 Mazda. They will also race at Daytona International Speedway with support from Mazdaspeed and Mazda North American Operations. Schlesinger is a resident of Golden Beach, Florida and is a long-time SCCA competitor. Dobson, who has maintained an on-going relationship with Mazda, has made his residence in Carmel Valley, California. Schlesinger and Dobson shared a podium finish during last year's race at VIRginia International Raceway.
In the SpeedSource No. 67 Discount Rental car will be Rich Walker and Gary Wollersheim for a limited schedule. Walker and Wollersheim competed together in last years Barber and Trois-Rivieres races. Their efforts in the Trois-Rivieres race landed them a top-ten finish in the ST class.
Marcelo Abello took a top-ten finish at the season opener in 2005. This year he will co-drive with Jose Armengol in the SpeedSource No. 66 Mazda. The two drivers will share the support of International Jet Traders, Gulfstream Brazil, D&S Insurance Consultants, and Mondial Forwarding for their 2006 season.
Ray Huffmaster and Rob Huffmaster will also open the season with SpeedSource Race Engineering. The father-son combo will be piloting the SpeedSource No. 65 Huffmaster Racing Mazda. After completing a very promising test at Daytona, the duo will compete with SpeedSource for the entire season. "Rob is a tremendous young talent and we are fortunate to have him join our team," stated Tremblay.
SpeedSource Race Engineering competes in the Grand-Am Cup Street Tuner class with support from Mazdaspeed Motorsports, Mazda North American Operations, Racing Hart, Sparco, Motec, Hawk Performance Brakes, Dynamic Suspensions, Mothers Wax and Polish, Goodridge, and Mechanix Wear.