Speedsource Scores Grand Am Rolex Driver’s and Team Championship
Mazda Captures Manufacturer Title
Nestled just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, Miller Motorsports Park played host to the 2010 Rolex Sports Car Series season-finale. For SpeedSource the race marked an important step in the company’s 15 year history through the claiming of the GT Team and Driver’s championships. Additionally, SpeedSource’s direct involvement in constructing the Mazda RX-8 helped bring Mazda its first Grand Touring Manufacturer Championship since 1991.
The crowning of the 2010 GT Drivers Champion came down to the final checkered flag of the season. Entering the weekend SpeedSource teammates Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal, driving the #69 FXDD Mazda RX-8, held a solid lead over Sylvain Tremblay, in the #70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8. In order to maintain the points spread and capture the title the two had to drive a faultless race and finish within 4 positions of their teammates.
Emil Assentato once again qualified and started the #69 FXDD Mazda RX-8. The main objective for this weekend: stay out of trouble and get the car to co-driver Jeff Segal. Assentato drove an excellent opening stint while keeping the car clean and in prime position. The track position earned by Assentato proved to be invaluable for Jeff Segal as he took control of the car. The duo closed the gap on the #70 during a late race yellow which allowed them to gain several positions on track. Ultimately, the two finished 6th at Miller Motorsports Park and clinched the 2010 GT Drivers Championship. This marked the pair’s first championship in GT racing. The pair’s accomplishments also earned SpeedSource the GT Team Championship for 2010.
SpeedSource teammates Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito went to Miller Motorsports Park with a fighter’s mentality, knowing that they almost certainly needed a race win to take the championship from the #69. Tremblay would assume qualifying and starting duties in his #70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8. The experienced driver and team owner drove brilliantly to get his car into the Top 5 during the early stages of the race. As pit stops cycled and the team commenced their driver change, Jonathan Bomarito saw himself in position to challenge for a podium. The #70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 closed out the 2010 season with a solid 4th place finish at Miller Motorsports Park on their way to earning 2nd place in the Team and Drivers championships. Rookie Jonathan Bomarito also captured the Mesco Rookie of the Year title.
Rookie drivers Adam Christodoulou and John Edwards concluded their first full season in sports cars driving the #68 Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development Mazda RX-8. Christodoulou closed out the season with yet another brilliant qualifying attempt, placing the car on the outside of the front row for the race start. The 2009 Star Mazda champion drove a consistent opening stint, keeping the car in contention for the GT lead. Co-driver John Edwards took control of the car in the race’s final hour and continued to push ahead. Running in an exciting battle for the GT win, Edwards continually pressured the GT leader, settling for a strong 3rd place finish. The two rookies finished 2nd in the final Mesco Rookie of the Year standings having earned one win and four podiums en route.
The celebrations continued at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada for the GRAND-AM 2010 Rolex Champions Banquet. Sylvain Tremblay and the entire SpeedSource team put on a strong showing during the awards dinner by taking home all GT class honors (except for third place team). The SpeedSource team won 5 races during the 2010 season to contribute to these final standings. SpeedSource also earned the Pirelli P-Zero Club award which recognizes season-long involvement in publicly promoting the Rolex Sports Car Series. Joining the SpeedSource crew for the celebrations were executives from Mazda North American Operations. Steve Sanders, manager of Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development, was on-hand to accept the Grand Touring Class Manufacturer trophy.
“It was an incredible season for everyone at SpeedSource,” recalled Tremblay. “Emil and Jeff were great in the No. 69 car. I am a racer 12 days out of the season and a team owner 365 days a year, so anyway you look at it, I’m happy with the performance.”
The SpeedSource team is already looking forward to a competitive 2011 Rolex Sports Car Series season. With just a few weeks to prepare for the first official test on the new Continental race tires, the crew is working to improve the already strong Mazda chassis.