Elan Motorsports news 2003-02-27

STAR MAZDA CHASSIS ON THE PACE The 2004 Pro Formula Mazda prototype built by Elan Motorsports Technologies has had a successful debut, covering over 100 miles on its maiden voyage and impressing test driver, and UK Formula Ford Champion, Wesley...


The 2004 Pro Formula Mazda prototype built by Elan Motorsports Technologies has had a successful debut, covering over 100 miles on its maiden voyage and impressing test driver, and UK Formula Ford Champion, Wesley Barber.

Barber compared the new Mazda "Renesis" rotary engine powered car to a Formula 3 car. The initial test took place in the UK before the first car was transported to the US for further testing.

Two time Star Mazda champion Mark Rodrigues and former Formula Ford 2000 champion and Star Mazda Rookie of the Year, Jason LaPoint, took over further testing at Buttonwillow Raceway in California. "Overall everybody is very excitied about the potential of the car," Star Mazda Series President, Gary Rodrigues said.

"The power of the new rotary engine and the weight distribution of the overall package is very good. It is going to be a rocket. "We have a lot of testing to complete this year but EMT has done a fantastic job in the design and build of the new car." The new Star Mazda Series will debut next year with 41 of the 50 cars to be built already sold.

The first cars will be delivered to customers in September this year. Featuring a state-of-the-art carbon fiber chassis, the cars will be built at EMT's Braselton, Georgia headquarters.


Elan Motorsports Technologies is involved in almost every facet of motorsport throughout the world.

But now, in 2003, we will even have a major involvement in Formula One. However, it is not quite what you think. Van Diemen founder Ralph Firman's son, Ralph Junior is set to make his Formula One debut for Jordan at the Australian Grand Prix on March 9.

A former winner of the British Formula 3 Championship and the Macau F3 Grand Prix, Ralph Jr. defeated rivals of the caliber of Christiano Da Matta, Helio Castroneves and even Juan Montoya to take his F3 championship.

He spent the past five years racing in Japan, winning last year's Formula Nippon Championship.


Elan Power Products has an extensive history in building fast, powerful and reliable V8 pushrod engines, but for 2003, our "horsepower factory" will debut a new 6.0 liter V12 engine for the Olive Garden Rafanelli

Ferrari 550 Maranello in the GTS class of the American Le Mans Series. Despite the GTS class having a 10 per cent reduction in the air inlet restrictor for 2003, EPP expect to still achieve a significant horsepower gain for the new year.

"While we are very well known for our pushrod V8 engines, many of our staff have considerable experience in multi-valve overhead cam racing engines," EPP's Derrick Peacock said.

"We are very confident the Rafanelli team should be highly competitive in the GTS horsepower race in 2003."

The new Elan developed Ferrari engine will race for the first time at the opening round of the 2003 American Le Mans Series - the 51st Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.


Did you know that Elan Motorsports Technologies is the largest producer of racing cars in the world?

Much of the credit for that belongs to our UK arm, Van Diemen International.

Located alongside the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk, England, Van Diemen's traditional business is building Zetec engined Formula Ford cars for the highly competitive UK national championships.

Van Diemen also builds one make 'spec' cars for various series around the world. The Formula Fords continue their remarkable success, with works-supported cars winning the UK national series title and the all important Formula Ford World Festival in 2002, and cleaning up the fast growing US F2000 title (for Zetec engined slicks and wings variants) in a hectic 2002 championship.

Van Diemen will celebrate its 30th Anniversary in 2003 and hopes to add to its remarkable record of 24 UK Formula Ford national titles. Two of these crowns were earned by Ayrton Senna and Eddie Irvine.

Christopher Tate, Managing Director of EMT group activities in the UK, points to the future with Van Diemen working ever more closely with colleagues in the USA.

"There has been a great deal of cooperation in EMT's contract with Star Mazda, building upon relevant skills and design experience in comparable formulas, to ensure that the new Star Mazda car is a first class product, as early testing (see story above) shows," Tate said. "We are also proud of the contract to supply the SCCA, the world's largest motorsports organization in terms of participants, with its new 'Spec Racer' for the coming years (pictured above with Van Diemen founder Ralph Firman)."

"The Van Diemen designed and built SCCA single seater is a great value race car, which will start many new young drivers careers, and which will also provide close racing for dozens and in due course hundreds of club and national racers in the US market".


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About this article
Series ALMS , Road racing , SCCA , Pro Mazda
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Helio Castroneves , Ayrton Senna , Ralph Firman