Daytona 24: Mazda race report

SPEEDSOURCE CASTROL SYNTEC MAZDA RX-8 WINS GT CLASS AT 2008 ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA - 22nd Win in Endurance Classic for Mazda since 1975 -- January 27, 2008 (Daytona Beach, Fla). After 24 hours of close competition among 41 cars, the SpeedSource...

SPEEDSOURCE CASTROL SYNTEC MAZDA RX-8 WINS GT CLASS AT 2008 ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA

- 22nd Win in Endurance Classic for Mazda since 1975 --

January 27, 2008 (Daytona Beach, Fla). After 24 hours of close competition among 41 cars, the SpeedSource Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 team won the GT class at the Rolex 24 at Daytona to kick off the 2008 GrandAm season. The SpeedSource driving team of Sylvain Tremblay, David Haskell, Nick Ham, and Raphael Matos started from the pole, and led 323 of 664 laps, on their way to ninth overall and the class win.

The race was a severe strategic challenge as there were intermittent rain showers for over half of the race and a total of 24 caution periods, many the result of on track incidents. The SpeedSource team was challenged by the slippery conditions with multiple spins, one of which resulted in minor body damage to the rear of the car including a broken taillamp. Other than the taillamp however, the rotary-powered Mazda ran flawlessly throughout the day-night-day race.

The SpeedSource Mazda team beat the runner-up Porsche by over five laps. The win was the 22nd class win at the race for Mazda and a ended a lengthy winning streak by Porsche at the biggest 24 hour race in America. Along the way, the SpeedSource number 70 car beat over two dozen Porsche 911 GT-3s, a handful of Pontiacs, a pair of Ferrari 430 Challenges, a Corvette, and a BMW M6. There were a total of 55 lead changes among 10 cars in the class, but no one could pass the RX-8 for the final 185 laps.

"This was a great win for the entire SpeedSource team. Endurance racing in particular is a team sport and I am so proud of our collective effort. Thanks especially to our new partners at Castrol, who believed in our ability to deliver. Thanks also to Fresh from Florida for their support of our in-car camera, as well as the many rotary enthusiasts who have supported our efforts, "remarked SpeedSource owner/engineer/driver Sylvain Tremblay.

Backing up the Castrol Syntec RX-8 were two other SpeedSource-built RX-8s in the top ten. Finishing fifth in the GT class was the SpeedSource FXDD RX-8 of Emil Assentato, Jeff Segal, Nick Longhi, and Lonnie Pechnik. The final top-ten car was the RX-8 of Racers Edge Motorsports driven by Ken Dobson, Robert Thorne, Craig Stone and Drew Staveley.

-credit: mazdaspeed

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Emil Assentato , Nick Longhi , Sylvain Tremblay , Ken Dobson , Robert Thorne , Lonnie Pechnik , Jeff Segal , Nick Ham , Craig Stone
Teams SpeedSource