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MazdaSpeed/SpeedSource RX-8 GT Takes Second Straight Victory in Miami
Submitted by Berny Herrera on Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - 3:46pm

Source: www.Grand-Am.com

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 24, 2007) -- Nick Ham and Sylvain Tremblay in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda/Mazdaspeed RX-8 extended their points lead in the GT class by taking their second straight class victory in a wild finish over RJ Valentine and Andy Lally in the No. 66 CRG/Maxter/Rotax/MBA/NFP/F1Air Porsche GT3.

Tremblay led 16 laps, but had to hold off a hard-charging Lally over the closing laps to secure the victory in the "hometown" race for his Sunrise, Fla.-based team. He crossed the stripe just .103 seconds ahead of the defending Rolex Series GT co-champion.

"That was one of the best races I've ever had," Tremblay said. "I just had tons and tons of fun. I'm very proud of the entire SpeedSource team and all the calls we made. To have won two in a row this early is just awesome. Nick drove a strong first half of the race. Momentum is the best thing."

Ham started second and led 12 laps during his stint before turning the car over to Tremblay. After picking up the first-ever Rolex Series GT victory for Mazda three weeks ago in Mexico City, Ham and Tremblay extended their lead in the GT driver standings to 17 points, 96-79, over No. 22 Gatorade/TodayMD.com Porsche GT3 co-drivers Carlos de Quesada and Jean-Francois Dumoulin.

"Overall, it was a very good race," Ham said. "Everything went according to plan. I did the first stint and my job was to keep the car clean and stay as close to the front as possible, which we were able to do. We called our pit stop right. We pitted at the right time so we just needed one stop, and at the end we were able to bring it home. When we did the stop I think it was in the sixth place, and he just gradually kept moving up. It was a great win for Mazda and the RX-8."

For the third-consecutive race, Valentine and Lally managed to substantially improve on their result from the previous race with a second-place run. The duo opened the year with a 17th-place class result in the Rolex 24 At Daytona before taking eighth in GT earlier this month in Mexico City.

"I just did two or three laps, then we put Andy in to close the deal," Valentine said. "He almost closed it."

"We had a really good car and by far the best Porsche in the field, hands down," Lally added. "We did a decent job with it. We came up just a little bit short, and that's a little bit disappointing. I wish we had a little more for those guys at the end, but I don't think we could have planned out the race any better than we did."

Bryce Miller and Dirk Werner rebounded from a cut tire to complete the class podium in the No. 87 Marquis Jet/IPC/Recaro Porsche GT3 for Farnbacher Loles Motorsports. It was the third consecutive top-four class result for the Farnbacher Loles team, which is in its first full Rolex Series season. The No. 87 machine finished fourth in the Rolex 24, and teammates Leh Keen and Dominik Farnbacher came home second in class from Mexico City. It was the first Rolex Series podium result for Werner and Miller.

"The last few laps were outstanding," Werner said. "I'm happy personally because I learned how to drive from Wolf Henzler, and to beat him now is really crazy. The car was so good, and the tactics we used were awesome. We fell all the way to the back when Bryce had the cut tire, so to come all the way back is just awesome. Hopefully we will celebrate tonight because this is mine and Bryce's first podium."

Fourth-place went to Henzler and Eric Lux in the No. 74 Rembrandt Charms/Tafel Racing Porsche GT3. Lux led five laps midway through the race, while Henzler took over after their pit stop and ran as high as third before Werner snatched that position away. The final top-five position went to Farnbacher and Keen in the No. 85 Shoes for Crews/Recaro Porsche GT3, and was the final car on the GT lead lap.

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subject:
Thanks from SpeedSource!!
author:
date:
April 10, 2007 - 3:08pm
RN.COM readers,
We are so fortunate.... very few cars, and even fewer engines, enjoy the almost fanatical level of support that we are getting from the rotary community. The support has been great and we really appreciate all the e-mails and postage we get! Please keep up the support for the rest of the season, as we push for the championship, every little bit helps! THANKS!

Sylvain Tremblay
SpeedSource Inc.
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subject:
Inspiring
author:
date:
March 30, 2007 - 7:03am
I guess inspiring is the appropriate word for this series of accomplishments for RX fans.

Thanks for the great races.

Best of luck and God speed!

- from New York
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subject:
2nd Year Watching Rx8 at Homestead
author:
date:
March 29, 2007 - 4:26pm
OMG! This has to be the best year to date! I went last year and talked to all the Speedsource guys and checked out the car it was absolutely amazing but this year was so much better! In a way I was disappointed to see the race end but I walked away happy knowing we had a 1st place win for the rotary community. I happen to live right next to Speedsource (approx 5 min) and I hope to visit them soon! Now if only they would put those awsome looking jerseys/shirts up for sale so us fans can represent the speedsource team in the stands! :)
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subject:
important
author:
date:
March 29, 2007 - 3:43pm
I hope you guys at speedsource know just how important your efforts are for the rotary comunitty, we have something to feel really proud of, it is amazing the feeling we as rotary enthusiast feel when we see our love rx-8 pass a porche or a corvette for the win

Thanks for bringing pride into the rx name againg

GOOD LUCK! AND WIN THAT CHAMPIONSHIP!!!
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subject:
Awesome racing!
author:
date:
March 29, 2007 - 4:01pm
Thanks for the awesome racing at homestead, mexico and daytona. It was some very exciting and close racing! And thanks for everything the speedsource team brings to the rotary community, again, you give us something to cheer about, to root for, to share, to celebrate on, and to be Proud of!

Thanks for getting the Mazda Rx-8 to podiums! Great team, great drivers, crew and cars! Good luck on the rest of the seasons! "Go Mazdaspeed, Zoom Zoom, two in a row!" Sylvain Tremblay =)

mike.
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subject:
SpeedSource GT RX-8 Wins Home
author:
date:
March 28, 2007 - 12:35pm
SpeedSource GT RX-8 Wins Homestead to Extend Points Lead in Rolex Sports Car Series

(03/28/2007) - Two fingers held high atop the podium almost said it all for the SpeedSource Mazdaspeed RX-8 team as they celebrated season win number two at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the March 24 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Linder Industrial Komastu Grand Prix. With a gamble on pit strategy, Nick Ham and team owner Sylvain Tremblay clinched the GT class victory with a slim one-tenth second lead.



In its first full season of competition, the rotary-powered GT RX-8 has zoom-zoomed to the top of the charts, holding a strong points lead in both the driver and team championship. But that is not the team's focus. As Tremblay noted, "We have worked so hard to get where we are, to achieve the level of excellence needed to win in this series. Now we know the spotlight is on us, and we have to work even harder to stay on top."

During the 90-lap event, which included numerous yellow flags, pit strategy proved as important as performance on the track. Team Technical Director David Haskell made the calls from pit lane. "We knew tires would be key in our race strategy," commented Tremblay, "and Dave made a gutsy call to pit and change tires only once. While it gained us time, I really had to focus on conserving the tires. At the end I wasn't sure I could stay ahead of cars with fresh tires."

In the closing minutes of the nail-biter race, No. 70 lost the lead to the No. 66 car under braking. Regaining the lead again, using a DP car as a pick in the banking, Tremblay held on to take checker 3 laps later. "This helps make up for the bitter defeat last year, when we lost by about the same margin than this year's victory," said Tremblay.

SpeedSource had tested earlier on the same track, and crew chief Matt Martin commented on the team's pre-race work. "The testing we did in the beginning of the year at Homestead really gave us a good starting setup going into the weekend. Not having to tweak the car too much gave us time to work with the drivers on managing the tires through a long stint." On the one-stop race, Martin said, "If you asked me with 40 minutes left in the race 'was it the right call' I would have looked at you with a very concerned face. But in the end it was."

For the No. 69 car, a 16th place finish dampened the spirits of the entire team. The FXDD-sponsored car driven by Nick Longhi and owner Emil Assentato started in a solid 8th place, but went a lap down on a long pit stop, with no chance of regaining their race-best 4th position. Said Tremblay of the No. 69 car's day, "The long pit stop and getting caught by the pace car ruined the race for the #69 FXDD and I feel horrible that we took a podium away from those guys -- we will make it up. The 16th place does not show all the hard work and great driving Emil and Nick did." Added crew chief for the No. 69, Marty Kintzi, "Overall the weekend was bittersweet with the victory of the No. 70. The No.69 was running strong in every session. The car was set up for a podium run; unfortunately, the race did not have an outcome we wanted. During an early caution we had an opportunity to capitalize on. We wanted fresh tires, driver and fuel to give us a good chance at the podium, but we had difficulty with the driver change which extended our pit time. The safety car crossed start/finish before we did and so we went down a lap. The crew and I were all very disappointed for the No. 69 car. Our goal at SpeedSource is always to win races with every car we run. We will learn from this weekend and come back stronger at VIR."

Staying up front in the highly competitive Rolex Sports Car Series puts the team on the road for more than just race weekends. To maintain their competitive edge, the team is testing at Homestead, Daytona, and Barber - all in the space of 7 days. As the team gains momentum, Tremblay is also focused on growing his program. "We have a great package, and expect to be able to announce our work on chassis nos. 003 and 004 for other teams." Excluding the chassis, which comes from Riley Technologies, and the Downing Atlanta built carbon fiber body panels, all the remaining fabrication happens on-site at SpeedSource. Looking ahead Tremblay adds, "We're also taking orders for chassis no. 005 and beyond."

While the team pursues more success, Tremblay is quick to mention his gratitude for support from Mazda and rotary enthusiasts. "The level of support and enthusiasm we get from fans everywhere is overwhelming. From all points in the country, Mazda fans and racers celebrate with us and I'm very happy to bring home this win for them."

And the points lead? Tremblay added, "The championship is always the focus, but we're still in the 'early days' and we just have to focus on our job of winning races for Mazda. The points will take care of themselves."

SpeedSource Race Engineering's 2007 Mazda RX-8 campaign is supported by Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development, Mazda North American Operations, Road & Track, Racing Hart, Sparco, Motec, Hawk Performance Brakes, Dynamic Suspensions, Mothers Wax and Polish, Goodridge, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and Mechanix Wear. For information on SpeedSource's 2007 season, please visit Speedsourceinc.com.

On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle. At the track, you'll see MX-5 Miata, RX-8, MAZDA3, MAZDA6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models competing, because every Mazda has the soul of a sports car. In fact, the fastest growing road-racing class in the U.S. is the SCCA's Spec Miata class, with nearly 1,500 first- and second-generation Miatas tearing up America's racetracks, making it the most-raced production car in the world. Mazda's involvement in motorsports extends to its relationship with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, one of the world's premier road-racing circuits, and the Skip Barber Schools for driving and racing.
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
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