June 1, 2009 - The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 returned to Lime Rock Park in Connecticut after a one year hiatus. This year’s Memorial Day Classic marked the first time that the race was to be run with both classes. Continuing their three-car effort in the GT Class, the SpeedSource team unveiled a completely new Mazda RX-8 GT car. In the car’s first ever appearance on-track, Mazda ladder drivers Adam Christodoulou and John Edwards scored their first GRAND-AM victory in the #68 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Mazda RX-8. Adding to the team’s success and closing out the third and fourth spots were the #69 FXDD Mazda RX-8 and the #70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8, respectively.
After last month’s race in VIR the team returned to their home base in Sunrise, FL to begin construction of an entirely new Mazda RX-8 for GT competition. The colossal effort would have been difficult enough on its own but the team still had to prep and maintain their other two Rolex Series GT entries, which are currently leading the points standings. Finishing the car just days before the race, the crew unloaded the #68 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Mazda RX-8 for its first on-track testing during Monday morning’s first practice session.
It was clear from the start that the work from the entire SpeedSource crew had been immaculate. Drivers Adam Christodoulou and John Edwards quickly came up to speed with the new setup. Christodoulou further strengthened the team’s effort in qualifying by securing the second spot. The opening hour of the race saw several lead changes before Christodoulou secured the lead and began to pull away. Co-driver John Edwards took over with 1.5 hours to go in the race and never looked back. The duo crossed the finish line first to secure the GT Class win having led 121 of 166 laps.
"I'm just thrilled, the heat today was unbelievable but apart from that it's been an awesome day. The car handled beautifully. It didn't have any faults to it. The SpeedSource team put it together in the last month and the first test we had was this morning,” recalled rookie driver Adam Christodoulou.
Current GT points leaders Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal looked to strengthen their lead with a strong performance in the one-day event. Assentato started the #69 FXDD Mazda RX-8 from 10th on the grid and quickly gained several spots. The Akin Award driver drove the opening 1.5 hours of the race before handing the car over to his co-driver. Segal quickly settled into a groove and steadily brought the #69 FXDD Mazda RX-8 to the leaders in GT. The crew scored their 4th straight podium of the season finishing the race 3rd in GT.
Rounding out the Mazda 1-2-3-4 finishing dominance was the #70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8. Sylvain Tremblay started his Rotary powered Mazda from the fourth grid position after posting a solid qualifying run. Tremblay ran the #70 Mazda with the class leaders as they started to gap the rest of the field. Co-driver Jonathan Bomarito took over the finishing driver duties for the second half of the race. The Mazda ladder graduate continued to push to secure a 4th place finish and valuable championship points.
"Every one of the SpeedSource cars has won a race this year, and that speaks volumes for the effort we put in at the shop," said team owner Sylvain Tremblay. "The No. 68 was a brand-new car - today was the first time it's been on the track - and it's a credit to the Mazda ladder program to give us two young drivers with this kind of talent." Additionally, SpeedSource is the only team to had put at least one car on the podium for every event this season. The results are a true testament to the hard work from the entire crew both at the shop and at the track.
The SpeedSource team heads to Watkins Glen International for the season’s second longest race at the Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen on Saturday June 5th. Catch the action live on SPEED.
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