Segal looking for a win at Mid-Ohio

Jeffery Segal Racing press release

Jeff Segal and No. 69 FXDD/SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 GT Team Looking To Close Championship Reign with First Win of 2011 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

#69 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8: Emil Assentato, Jeff Segal
#69 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8: Emil Assentato, Jeff Segal

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

LEXINGTON, Ohio (September 15, 2011) – Jeff Segal, co-driver Emil Assentato and the No. 69 FXDD/SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 GT team will be looking to close-out their current reign as GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT champions in winning style this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course where Segal and his teammates will have one final shot at a race victory this season in Saturday’s EMCO Gears Classic. The featured 2-3/4-hour timed EMCO Gears Classic sprint race can be seen live on SPEED this Saturday, September 17, at 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT.

“I think we stand as good a chance at Mid Ohio as we do anywhere on the schedule,” said Segal, who won the 2010 GT Championship with Assentato and the No. 69 team. “The track does put an emphasis on momentum and agility, both of which are strong suits of the Mazda RX-8. We have had a brutal lean spell the last few races, so I'm confident that our entire team is hungry to close the year well. The short sprint races weren't so kind to us this year, so I'm also looking forward to returning to the two hour and forty-five minute length race. One race to go and we'll give it everything to end with a win.”

Segal has made it to victory lane several times this season – including season-best second place finishes in March’s Grand Prix of Miami and in July at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – but not on the top-center spot of the podium.

“It's all too easy to second guess decisions you've made throughout the year, but all in all I'm proud of our performances under the difficult circumstances this season,” Segal said. “We have been on the podium three times, and that’s a bit of an accomplishment on its own. Most teams would be thrilled with that, so it shows what a high level we hold ourselves to lately.”

Like most drivers in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, Segal enjoys racing at Mid-Ohio.

“Mid-Ohio is always fun for us, mostly because of the tight racing it seems to create each year,” Segal said. “The course layout is very challenging, and the mix of corners seems to often equalize the various strengths of the different models in GT. Turn one is very fast, and takes a lot of commitment to get it right without losing the car at the exit. The Keyhole is all about patience and finesse, and the sequence at the end of the back straight presents a great overtaking zone. The biggest challenge I find at Mid-Ohio is getting the car to put down the power over the many crests and off camber exits. If you can get the car to maintain grip as the track falls away, you're going to have a strong race car. If you struggle to perfect this, you've got a long race ahead!”

Segal has also had his fair share of positive moments and memories at Mid-Ohio.

“My first GRAND-AM pole position came at Mid-Ohio in 2006 with Automatic Racing in the GS-class BMW M3,” Segal said. “That was the weekend I decided I liked the place! Since then I've had mixed luck in the races, but it has always been a track I've felt comfortable with. I've been on the podium there before, and ideally we can return there this weekend.”

A two-day event, the EMCO Gears Classic schedule starts with practice and qualifying on Friday. Race day Saturday starts with a morning warm-up final practice at 8:40 a.m., the last on-track activity for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series until that afternoon’s race at 3 p.m.

Noteworthy: With the 2011 season ending less than 48 hours from now, Segal is hard at work on reviewing options for next year. “Plans for next season are progressing well,” Segal said. “I expect to be able to announce something shortly after the end of this season. The buzz that has been created by the arrival of the GT3 cars to the Rolex Series has been fascinating, and I think the 2012 Rolex 24 is going to be really incredible. There is so much interest in this series right now, and I'm looking forward to competing with and against some of the top European teams, drivers and cars next year. Right now we're trying to finalize our program to make sure the pieces are in place to take the fight to these new entries, and I'm excited about what we have in store! It will be worth the wait!”

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Emil Assentato , Eric Gilbert , Jeff Segal
Teams Automatic Racing , SpeedSource
Tags grand-am, mazda, mid-ohio, segal