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MAZDASPEED: MONTEREY, MILLVILLE AND MORE
2012 Season Opener at Mazda Raceway = Fast Times at Mazda High
May 14, 2012 (IRVINE, Calif.) While there are race car drivers ranging in age from under ten-years-old – think karts, to those well into their AARP years, youth was served at Mazda Raceway this weekend.
Three of the race winners had a common trait – all would be back in high school classes on Monday morning. 17-year old high school junior Elliott Skeer won one of the two Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup races. 17-year old high school junior Kenton Koch won both of the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge races. 16-year old high school sophomore Tristan Nunez won both of the Cooper Tire IMSA Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda races. All three have shown wisdom beyond their years both on and off the track and all three are potential 2012 series champions.
A wide variety of Mazda teams were split between the 2012 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca season opener, and the New Jersey Motorsports Park, 3000 miles to the east. This weekend was also round number two for Formula D and the opening days of practice for the Indy 500.
American Le Mans Monterey presented by Tequila Patrón @ Mazda Raceway:
· American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón (Round 3 of 10) – The Dyson Lola Mazda MZR-R started second, finished second, and left the weekend second in points.
· SCCA Pro-Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup (Rounds 3 & 4 of 11) Elliott Skeer, from CJ Wilson Racing, won the Friday race with John Dean II, from Sick Sideways Racing, winning on Saturday. Kenton Koch won the Skip Barber class on both days
· Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered By Mazda (Rounds 5 & 6 of 12). Tristan Nunez scored his fourth and fifth wins of the season.
· Pirelli World Challenge – Touring Cars (Round 6 of 14) Michael Cooper was seeking his fourth win of the season, but was hit on the first lap, resulting in a broken wheel and an unscheduled pit-stop. Cooper recovered to finish fifth. Cooper is second in drivers points with Mazda second to Honda among manufacturers.
GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Cars @ New Jersey:
· GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Championship (Round 4 of 13) – The SpeedSource RX-8 team of Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito held a 20 second lead before an electrical short caused lost time on their final pitstop, dropping them to a seventh place finish. Mazda is just one point behind Ferrari and Porsche in third place among the seven manufacturers in the GT class. Mazda has scored one race win among the four races.
· Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (Round 4 of 10). Mazda is in third place behind BMW and Kia among the nine competing brands in the Street Tuner (ST) class. Mazda has scored one race win among the four races.
· The second race for GRAND-AM version of B-Spec, the TOTAL Performance Showcase, resulted in a fourth place for Frank Hart in his Mazda2.
Mazda News Notes
· Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) announced it has extended its naming rights agreement for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) for another five years. The agreement was ratified by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors and extends the two organizations’ relationship, which began in 2001, through 2016. The world-famous Monterey, Calif., facility is home to one of the finest natural road-racing courses in the world, and has been a mainstay of professional auto and motorcycle racing since 1957. www.mazdaraceway.com
· Mazda continued a fun and furry partnership with the SPCA for Monterey County, located across the street from Mazda Raceway. Adoptable animals were named for a variety of Mazda racers and an autograph session with racers and Playboy Playmates was held at the shelter. This program, held since 2007 has generated donations, raised awareness, and helped adopt many animals. www.spcamc.org
· MAZDASPEED Ladder Alumni successes this weekend included former Skip Barber & Star Mazda Champion Conor Daly scoring his first GP3 win, and former Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup Champion Todd Lamb winning the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car race at Mazda Raceway to take over the series points lead.
· Mazda Road to Indy graduates Josef Newgarden and JR Hildebrand topped the timing sheet for the opening day of practice for the Indy 500.
· Formula D RX-8 racer Kyle Mohan made the Final 16 in Road Atlanta while Joon Maeng drove his RX-8 into the top 8.
About Mazda & MAZDASPEED
Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America. Thousands of Mazda powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 3,000 cars built. In 2006 Mazda established the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder to assist racers in moving up through the ranks. In 2010 this was expanded to include the Mazda Road to Indy. Key to Mazda’s success is strategic partnerships with the Skip Barber Racing School and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
MAZDASPEED Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif. and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario; and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
Communications Officer, MAZDASPEED Motorsports
Dean Casemazdaspeed@mazdausa.comOffice Phone: Fax: Mobile:
(310) 318-4582Mazda North American Operations
7755 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618