Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada - When Mazda's return to the top level of sports car racing was announced at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring earlier this year, one of the key philosophies of the program was to celebrate the Mazda endurance racing traditions of the past and to look forward at the promising future with new teams, names, and faces that are now part of the Mazda racing family.
Throughout this debut season for the Mazda-powered Courage C65 of B-K Motorsports and Sportsbook.com, numerous Mazda "veterans" have contributed in one way or another to the many successful outings seen thus far.names like Dennis Spencer and his experienced group from Team Spencer Racing, Jim Downing, Daryl Drummond, Rick Engman, Francesco Ianetti, Carlos Lopez and Roger Mandeville have been supportive with advice, technology, and engineering from their years of experience. That same philosophy of utilizing traditions of the Mazda racing past carried through to today as B-K Motorsports made its announcement of a third driver for the upcoming Petit Le Mans event at Road Atlanta.
Elliott Forbes-Robinson, a veteran road racing champion and former Mazda factory driver will join the duo of Jamie Bach and Guy Cosmo behind the wheel of the 3-rotor Mazda powered P2 machine for the 1,000-mile/10-hour jaunt. Forbes-Robinson said he is very much looking forward to the chance to work with the new team and help it continue to transition some of the Mazda racing traditions. "I am pleased that things fell into place for me to join Guy and Jamie for Petit," he said in a phone interview Thursday. "It will be terrific to be back in the American Le Mans Series and see the many special friends and fans that we have come to know over the years."
Robinson, affectionately known as EFR, was the ALMS' first prototype champion in 1999 with Dyson Racing. His pro career spans 30 years with 51 major victories. At Sebring in 1999, he posted his best finish (second in GTP) of his ALMS career.
"One of the most rewarding things we have seen this year is the fan following of the Mazda rotary being back in the field in the ALMS. There is no question the sound catches peoples attention, but we have seen the faithful fans who followed, Downing, Mandeville, Spencer, and certainly EFR, being adopted by the team and vice versa," commented John Doonan, Manager of Motorsports Team Development for Mazda North American Operations. "Having EFR join us for Petit continues a shift and an education process which the team has been experiencing all season long. Sports car endurance racing at this level is 'the art of racing' and we want to have a special combination of people that gets us to the end result."
To date, Bach and Cosmo sit third in the P2 point standings with five podium finishes, including the historic first win for Mazda in the ALMS, also at Mid-Ohio. Bach and Cosmo compete this weekend at the Labour Day Weekend Grand Prix of Mosport in Bowmanville, Ontario. The duo hopes to secure a strong points finish this weekend heading into Petit and the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
"We are thrilled to have EFR on board for Petit," said Pat Kestner, co-owner of B-K Motorsports. "His experience and skill along with all the support we have received from Team Spencer has been critical in getting us prepared for our first Petit. We are very excited to put the finishing touches on our race plans.and EFR will clearly help us do that."