SpeedSource Extends ST Points Lead With Big Wins Over the past month SpeedSource Race Engineering has successfully extended the Grand-Am Cup Sport Touring (ST) lead not once, but twice. On July 29th, at the Barber Park 200, and the following ...
SpeedSource Extends ST Points Lead With Big Wins
Over the past month SpeedSource Race Engineering has successfully extended the Grand-Am Cup Sport Touring (ST) lead not once, but twice. On July 29th, at the Barber Park 200, and the following weekend, at the Trois-Rivieres 150, the # 70 SpeedSource Mazdaspeed RX-8 won from the pole at both venues.
"The Barber track suits our cars and we do incredibly well there. We unloaded with a good set-up and knew what we needed. David did a great job of qualifying even faster there than he has throughout the season," stated team owner and driver, Sylvain Tremblay.
With tough competition from the field, Tremblay passed the #64 car with 1 ½ laps remaining in the race and took the checkered flag for the ST class.
In the pits, the skill and diligence of the SpeedSource crew returned the #68 car to the track to finish the race after damage early on in the morning warm-up. Scott Schlesinger and Ken Dobson brought the #68 to the checker in 12th place.
In the # 66 car, drivers Marcelo Abello and Nick Fanelli brought their SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 home in 14th place.
Unfortunately, the #67 car, driven by Rich Walker and Gary Wollersheim, was struck during the race by a Grand Sport (GS) class car and finished out of contention.
The SpeedSource team was also happy to have the support of the Georgia RX-8 club at Barber Park. Fans traveled from the Atlanta area to watch the event and visit with the team.
"It was excellent to have local support and be able to share our weekend with the Georgia RX-8 club," stated Tremblay.
After the Barber race, SpeedSource headed to Tremblay's birthplace, the province of Quebec, Canada. There, the street course of Trois-Rivieres is a favorite for the team, and racing enthusiasts fill the town for the event.
"Trois-Rivieres hosts an excellent weekend for sports car racing. The atmosphere is fantastic and the street course is always a challenge. Being able to speak French and share the victory with the crowd made the win extra special," added Tremblay.
Brakes and handling proved the most important aspects of the race. SpeedSource made full use of their Trois-Rivieres experience, and made brakes a top priority.
"We had a great set-up put together for this race. The braking and handling required for the Trois-Rivieres course was foremost in our preparations, and we knew we had to use every bit of handling the RX-8 could give us. It's a track made for Mazdas," Tremblay noted.
After landing the pole position for the start of the race, SpeedSource worked to maintain brakes but aimed to push through on a clear track. They were given an opportunity to do just that and driver David Haskell took advantage.
Haskell passed the #27 car, the current leader, on track. With a green flag pit stop, SpeedSource pulled out an amazing pit stop which placed the #70 on a clear track. A restart at the end of the race made for a good finish but Tremblay continued to push the Mazdaspeed RX-8 to its limits, recording the team's fastest lap with only moments left in the race. The #27 car was not able to catch the #70 as it took the second win in two weeks.
Driving the #67 car for SpeedSource was Rich Walker and Gary Wollersheim. The two co-drivers stuck to plans made in practice and with smart racing, gained nine positions in the two-hour race for a well earned top-ten finish.
Grand-Am Cup Grand Sport (GS) competitor Jep Thornton joined friend Marcello Abello in the SpeedSource #66 car. Abello and Thornton combined efforts for a 12th place finish. Tremblay commented on their efforts.
"They both did an excellent job. For Jep to come out with little experience in the car, he showed how fast he was."
#68 faced fuel starvation issues which forced them to pit early. They were running consistently in a top ten position but after the pit stop could not regain position. Scott Schlesinger and Jeff Altenburg crossed the finish line in the #68 car directly behind their teammates, in 13th place.
"All the fans and surrounding excitement made the win extra special. Being in a separate race from the GS class and coming in as the overall leader just added to the whole experience," Tremblay concluded.