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Submitted by Berny on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 15:35MazdaSpeed

- All Eyes on Florida for Daytona and Sebring Classics –

January 24, 2008 (Irvine, Calif).
2007 was a strong season for MAZDASPEED in open competition. Eight race wins, one manufacturers championship, one drivers championship, hundreds of laps led. For 2008, things are looking even better as the MZR-R engine enters it’s sophomore year in ALMS and new teams join the Mazda ranks in the GrandAm GT and SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring car classes

The GrandAm and KONI Challenge kick off their 2008 season with the Rolex 24 @ Daytona this weekend. In Mid-March, the ALMS and SPEED World Challenge cars begin their 2008 season a few hundred miles away in Sebring. Mazda has a strong history in both endurance classics having scored a combined 34 class wins in the two races since 1975.

American Le Mans Series (ALMS)

B-K Motorsports -- Ben Devlin & Jaime Bach return for a second year in their Mazda MZR-R powered Lola B07/46. The team will be announcing new partners at the ALMS winter test on January 29. The third driver who will drive at Sebring, and again at the Petit Le Mans will also be named at that time.

GrandAm GT

SpeedSource -- In 2007 teammates Sylvain Tremblay and David Haskell teamed for three wins and third place in the championship. This year they will be looking to improve on that record. Joining Tremblay and Haskell for Daytona will be Nick Ham and Raphael Matos. The #70 car will feature all new colors for 2008. The second SpeedSource car (#69) will be driven by Emil Assentato, Jeff Segal, Nick Longhi, and Lonnie Pechnik. Assentato won the 2007 Bob Akin Cup for sportsman drivers in the GrandAm series.

Hyper-Sport – SoBe Life Water Hyper-Sport will feature a five driver line-up for Daytona with Patrick Dempsey, Charles Espenlaub, Joe Foster, Romeo Kapudija, and Scott Maxwell. Car number is 40.

Racers Edge – The Florida based team will lead off their efforts with drivers Ken Dobson, Robert Thorne, Craig Stone and Drew Staveley. Sponsorship is from Guardian Edge Technologies, Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts, and Michael Spain-Smith Studios. Car number is 30.

Goldin Brothers Racing – Steve and Keith Goldin along with Jim Meassick are comfirmed for the 24 Hour. Primary sponsorship is from CCM Cellular. Car number is 08.

Spencer Motorsports – Spencer Motorsports has confirmed Gary Drummond, Richard Grupp, Roger Mandeville, Dennis Spencer, and Scott Spencer, with sponsorship from Trench Shoring. Car number is 40.

SPEED World Challenge Touring Cars

Tri-Point - Jeff Altenburg will be back to defend his title, but will have two new teammates in the familiar blue and white MAZDA6’s from Tri-Point. Jason Saini earned his ride by winning the 2007 MX-5 Cup, thus being promoted to the next step of the MAZDASPEED Driver Development Ladder. Charles Espenlaub trades his Tindol green for Tri-point blue in 2008.

Tindol Motorsports – 2007 Road Atlanta race winner Michael Galati returns to lead the Tindol Motorsports team. Charlie Putman will also be returning to the team with continuing sponsorship from Pesco. Galati and Putman will be joined by new teammate Chip Herr. Herr has his own Mazda history as he was the 2003 Miata Cup Atlantic Tour Champion.

Horton Motorsports - Patrick Lindsey will be chasing the rookie of the year honors with the single car Horton Motorsports team. Primary Sponsorship is from Sloan Securities Corporation, John Purner’s Complete Custom Wheel of Daytona Beach Florida, NEO Synthetics and Pro-tech Ignition Wire Company.

KONI Challenge

A number of capable privateer teams will be racing RX-8’s and MX-5’s in the 11-race series. On the entry list for the season opener is SpeedSource, Maxwell Paper Racing, Daytona Mazda, Pipelayer Racing, Team Sahlen, Brass Mitchell Racing, Baglieracing, Roar Racing, Hickham Motorsports, and Performance Autosport.

Mazda is the brand of choice for road-racers across North America. More than 9,000 grassroots racers compete in various classes with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and the National Auto Sport Association (NASA). Racers who are years away from earning a driver’s license can now begin their professional motorsports careers in the Mazda family. A driver can begin in karts and progress through the Skip Barber series, Club Racing Formula Mazda, professional Star Mazda and finally to Formula Atlantic, ALL with Mazda. No other car company has ever connected the dots this way.

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 largest road-racing class in the world is Spec Miata, with more than 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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