KONI Champ keeps career moving up as SpeedSource secures Segal for 08 after impressing in 07 SUNRISE, Fla. (November 12, 2007) As the teams of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series prepare for the upcoming November Test Days at ...
KONI Champ keeps career moving up as SpeedSource secures Segal for 08 after impressing in 07
SUNRISE, Fla. (November 12, 2007) As the teams of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series prepare for the upcoming November Test Days at Daytona International Speedway, the SpeedSource Mazda team has announced the addition of 22-year old Jeff Segal as a full-time driver in the No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8 GT-class machine for the 2008 season.
Segal, who was recently crowned as the 2007 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Grand Sport Driver Champion, will find himself in good company as he will share driving duties with another of the 2007 seasons honored drivers, Bob Akin Award winner Emil Assentato. Nick Longhi will join the duo in the seasons three long distance races--the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Six Hours of The Glen and 1000k event at Miller Motorsports Park.
"I can't express how excited I am to be a part of SpeedSource's effort for the entire 2008 season," remarked Segal. "This is a tremendous opportunity for me to compete at the highest level of sports car racing in the Grand-Am Rolex GT-class, and I can't think of a team I'd rather have behind me, or a car I'd rather drive than their Mazda RX-8," he added. "I know that this team is capable of running with and beating some of the best drivers and cars in the series, and it really is a great shot of confidence for me to know that all of the pieces are in place for us to build on their successes in 2008."
While Segal will be competing for the MESCO Building For the Future Rookie of the Year Award in 2008, he is no stranger to the Grand-Am Rolex Series GT-class. In 2007, Segal ran a limited schedule for the SpeedSource Mazda team, logging top-ten finishes in each of his three starts, with a best result of 4th place in the season finale 1000k race at Miller Motorsports Park. Segal's other GT-class highlights from the season included a 5th place qualifying effort at the Six Hours of The Glen, and a 7th place result in his first ever attempt at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
In between his appearances behind the wheel of the SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 in 2007, Segal managed to keep himself busy. Driving the Fresh From Florida / Automatic Racings BMW M3 in the fiercely competitive Grand-Am KONI Challenge, he and co-driver Jep Thornton secured the Grand Sport Driver, Team, and Manufacturers Championships on the strength of four podiums and an incredible nine top-ten finishes in the twelve-race season. Segal is confident that the lessons learned en route to his 2007 Championships will serve him well in his 2008 GT effort.
"I think that my time spent in the KONI Challenge Series will certainly be a huge asset for me next year," Segal commented. "I've been exposed to so much door-to-door racing, often times against some of the biggest names from the Rolex Series. I've learned what works and what doesn't, and I think that my approach to GT will be very similar to what we used successfully in KONI this year.
Preparation for the 2008 season begins officially at Daytona International Speedway this week, where Segal will go to work with the SpeedSource team to adapt the Mazda RX-8 to the new Pirelli tires that will be on all Rolex Series cars this year. The 2008 Grand Am Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve season kicks off at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, scheduled to take place on January 26-27, 2008.