Mazda RX-8 and SpeedSource Zoom by Competition for Grand-Am Cup Manufacturer's Title SpeedSource Race Engineering had one goal in mind for their 2005 Grand-Am Cup Sport Touring season. In 2004, the Mazda RX-8 team took both the team and driver's...
Mazda RX-8 and SpeedSource Zoom by Competition for Grand-Am Cup Manufacturer's Title
SpeedSource Race Engineering had one goal in mind for their 2005 Grand-Am Cup Sport Touring season. In 2004, the Mazda RX-8 team took both the team and driver's championship but narrowly missed the manufacturer's title. At the beginning of the 2005 season the team put the manufacturer's title on the very top of their list.
"It's going to be tough to improve on 2004, but I think everyone at SpeedSource is up to the challenge," said David Haskell, SpeedSource technical director and driver, prior to the 2005 season. Haskell could not have been more accurate.
For SpeedSource as well as Mazda, 2005 was an exhilarating season. With five wins, seven podiums and twenty-two top ten finishes, SpeedSource defended their driver and team championships, and then seized their coveted title. At Virginia International Raceway during the Grand-Am Cup banquet, SpeedSource accepted the manufacturer's trophy on Mazda's behalf.
SpeedSource Race Engineering is fueled by team owner and driver, Sylvain Tremblay. Tremblay leads the effort with co-driver, David Haskell. The two men create a powerful impact in the sports car racing world. Tremblay and Haskell combined for a total of five wins in 2005 and led the drive for the team's 2005 Triple Crown Championship. Haskell was awarded the driver championship while Tremblay closely followed his co-driver as runner up.
"There was that one goal we did not achieve in 2004. [The Manufacturer's title] was our full goal this year. Mazda stepped up their involvement and we stepped up our game plan. It was great to bring Mazda the championship, especially with the help of our fellow Mazda team Southpaw," stated Tremblay.
Robert Davis, senior vice president of product development and quality at Mazda North American Operations, was pleased to have SpeedSource as a leader in RX-8 development. This title is the first Grand-Am Cup manufacturer's title for the Mazda RX-8.
"SpeedSource has helped with the image of the RX-8 being a successful sports car. They helped us showcase the talents of the rotary engine and its tremendous endurance abilities," stated Davis.
"SpeedSource also helps to prove that a small organization can beat all of them. The RX-8 beat out the Cobalt when General Motors really applied their resources. Next year we will raise the bar by beating them again and beating BMW again," Davis added.
Steve Sanders also commended and congratulated the SpeedSource race effort. As manager of MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development , Sanders works with SpeedSource to ensure that their Mazda RX-8s are the fastest and best handling cars in the ST class.
"SpeedSource backed up last year's [driver and team] championships and won the manufacturer's championship. I couldn't ask for anything more, it's awesome! The team demonstrated superior performance, and preparation all season. Their RX-8s are always prepared to the top level. The smart driving by Sylvain and David is outstanding, their pit strategy is excellent and it is amazing to see how buttoned up the team is at every event. SpeedSource is top notch and they have proven again this year they are one of the top teams in Grand-Am." Sanders commented.
Mazda totaled for an astounding five wins in the Grand-Am Cup Sport Touring class, all of which were taken by the # 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8. SpeedSource worked constantly with Mazda to not only improve their race effort but to improve the Mazda RX-8 product as a whole. Steve Sanders also commented on the importance of feedback from the SpeedSource team.
"David and Sylvain provide our Mazda R&D team with valuable feedback about what they learn on the racetrack. The type of data gathered from the racetrack is invaluable to us and helps us to improve our product," commented Sanders.
Looking forward to the 2006 season, Sanders has high standards for the RX-8. He realizes competition will be fierce but knows what it takes to remain at the top.
"Last year the RX-8 was new and to repeat the championship is an awesome accomplishment. Current competition will get stronger and I've heard of new manufacturers coming in to the class. We'll have to step it up again next year, but I'm sure SpeedSource is up to the challenge. The Mazda RX-8 is a great package already. I'm confident we can work with SpeedSource to find more so they can bring home another championship next year," added Sanders.