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At the Source: Speed Source Tour
Submitted by SuperUser on Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 5:21pm

It started on the last day of 2003. I got another one of those annoying junk emails (the
ones without the parenthesis or brackets at the beginning of the subject line).wait! Don't delete
that. Its not junk. Its from Rotarynews.com Wow, this story is about the team with the RX-8s
running in the Grand Am cup 250 race at Daytona in January.

I read the full article and noticed they (Speed Source) were located in Sunrise, Florida. The
Mazda Rotary Car Club of Florida, Gold Coast (Ft. Lauderdale & Miami area) chapter was
planning a BBQ for January 24. One week before the race. The Speed Source shop is only 8
miles north of the BBQ location. One thing lead to another and owner, Sylvain Tremblay, invited
us to visit the Speed Source shop this past Saturday afternoon.
Speed Source was established by Sylvain Tremblay in 1995. The team has been racing
rotaries since its beginning They won the SCCS ITS ARRC championships in 1998 and 1999
with a 2nd gen Rx7. They also won the 1998 Speedvision Cup with a 3rd gen RX7. Last year
Speed Source ran the Grand Am Series with Porsche Boxters and won that championship also.
They say the RX-8s are faster. They have recently moved into a new 10,000 square foot
facility where they design and build their cars and cars for other race teams.
On January 3-5 the Grand Am series held pre season testing at Daytona. Best combined
time in the Sport Touring class was Tremblay and Haskell in #70. They were 1st in class, 12th
overall. Schlessinger and Tuaty in #68 were 3rd in class, 14th overall. Walker, Wollersheim and
Fanelli in #67 were 5th in class, 16th overall.
When we entered the parking lot, I knew we were in for a special treat. The four large
overhead doors were open. The first thing that drew our attention was a beautiful 3rd gen. We
could also see the ITS 2nd gen. As we walked toward the opening we recognized what used to be
a red RX-8. Every part had been removed. No interior, no drive train, no suspension, no
nothing. Anything that could be removed, without a torch, was gone. Total weight, with the
doors, 801 lbs.
Beyond the shell, near the rear of the shop, were several pallets loaded with wrapped
bundles. On top, giving a clue to what might be in the wrapped bundles, were four RX-8 nose
cones. Two yellow, one silver and one blue. Everyone was interested in what would become of
the new stock parts. Sylvain told us they had an agreement with a company who buys the
removed stock parts by the pallet.
We filed through a large doorway and entered Rotary Heaven. Here, in a large spotless
room, were three race ready RX-8s. There were two Daytona prototypes with 5 liter Ford
Cobra engines, but here we were, standing among three racing RX-8s. To a true rotorhead there
was no contest.

Sylvain filled us in on some of the things they have done to prepare the cars for the race.
The engines are stock RX-8 engines with Motec engine management. They make about 250 hp
at the flywheel. Redline is around 9500 RPM. Virtually all of the stock suspension is replaced
(no details were given). They use the stock rear sway bar, but a much larger front bar. The
brakes, however, are stock (with high performance pads and fluid). They got engineering help
from Mazda to design and build the formidable roll cage. Contrary to what you might think, the
doors are fully functional. Yes, even a racing RX-8 can hug you. Sylvain said the body is 300%
more rigid than the 3rd gen RX-7. Wheels are Racing Hart CPO35s, custom made to their specs.
They are even lighter than the ones sold to the public. The body kit is from Mazdaspeed.
Anyone can buy it from the dealer. He did mention that they use the US spec nose, not the
Jspec. The US nose has a smaller opening. The extra fiberglass covers the US spec bumper bar.
They do not use the rear valance. The rear wing is adjustable and provides significant down force
at the speeds they are running. They opened the hood (no pictures please). The engine
compartment looks very similar to a stock engine compartment without the plastic cover and
with a few mysterious extra parts. The stock exhaust manifold is used with a 2 1/2" exhaust.
After 2-3 seconds of prompting, Sylvain climbed into the driver's seat of #70 and fired it up. He
revved it to 8k or so. I really can't describe the sound, but I get chills just thinking about it.
There was no doubt it was a rotary.
We also talked with Dave Haskell, driver and chief tuner at Speed Source. He feels that the
Renesis is the best built and balanced rotary that Mazda has ever made. He mentioned that he
thought the intake ports were about as large as they could be. He's heard of several people who
have tried enlarging them. Most lost a corner seal or tore up side seals. The exhaust ports,
however should benefit from some enlargement. He knows of no one who has been able to
increase horsepower with tuned headers. They are using stock 2mm Mazda apex seals. They
are, however planning to try Ianetti's ceramic seals. He mentioned that they had spoken with
Ianetti about making seals with the new Renesis radius. They are running no timing split with
the Motec. They've tried many combinations with no real change in power. He did mention
(with a smile) that intake runner length changes could be beneficial. They have tried the
aftermarket intakes and none produced more horsepower than the Mazda stock intake.
Speed Source also has several transporters to haul cars to and from races. Each can hold 4
cars and enough parts and tools to do major repairs. Sylvain guided us out the rear of the shop to
the Mazdaspeed transporter. I was commenting on the huge rotor graphics on the side, when we
noticed we were alone. Retracing our steps we found the problem. Just outside the door were
two 2nd gen shells . The crowd had stopped to see what usable parts might be left. He smiled,
shook his head and said "true rotorheads" .
Mr. Tremblay has invited us to visit the shop again. Sometime this summer we will be
returning for another visit. Hopefully they will have a championship banner or two to show off.
Lets hope we see three yellow RX-8s hugging their drivers in the Daytona winner's circle.

More pictures can be found at the following links.
Gold Coast BBQ link
No Pistons

RX7Club.com
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