June 27, 2011 - The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 made its debut at Road America Raceway in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for Round 7 of the Rolex Championship. The event ran as a shortened sprint format race with a duration of just two-hours. The truncated race length would mean strategy and teamwork would play integral roles. For the SpeedSource and their duo of Mazda RX-8s, it was business as usual. The #70 Castrol Edge Mazda RX-8 scored a 7th place finish after a hard-fought race and the #69 FXDD Mazda RX-8 rounded out the Top 10.
For the #70 Castrol Edge Mazda RX-8 and starting driver Sylvain Tremblay, the race would be an uphill fight. Starting at the back of the grid due to a spin in qualifying, the #70 Mazda RX-8 diligently pursued the GT class leaders while driving through most of the field in the race's early minutes. A large wreck by another competitor forced a long caution period allowing the crew on the pit lane an opportunity to employ some clever strategy to further the car's charge to the front. Through some great pit stops the car cycled through to the front of the GT class with co-driver Jonathan Bomarito's driver change completed. Bomarito was thrown into an intense fight for the GT class win with some cars gambling to conserve fuel and others going all-out for the win. The race's outcome was not decided until the final lap where, while attempting a pass at Turn 6, Bomarito's Mazda was bumped causing him to spin. The driver would regain control; ultimately earning the team a 7th place finish.
Emil Assentato and co-driver Jeff Segal would endure a similarly gritty race. The #69 FXDD co-drivers would employ similar strategy to their SpeedSource teammates, getting Assentato valuable driver points before making the switch to Segal. The defending GT Class champions from 2010 were engaged in multiple fights for track position in the race's closing laps. Late contact forced Jeff Segal into the pits for a drive-thru penalty, thus leading to a 10th place result.
After Round 7, the #69 FXDD Mazda RX-8 finds itself in the Top5 in the GT Class standings. Also worth noting is that Mazda is in the hunt for the manufacturer's title, trailing 1st by only a single point.
The team heads to Monterey, CA with a return to the beautiful Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca track. Catch the action July 10th, 4 PM EST on SPEED.
ROAD AMERICA 2011 - RACE GALLERY