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Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8 Will Shine Brightly in Homestead, Florida

March 4, 2010 (Irvine, Calif.).  Mazda and VISIT FLORIDA today announced a special promotion that will kick-off this weekend during the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Raceway, providing a dash of both sun and star power.  Actor/racer Patrick Dempsey will carry VISIT FLORIDA’s bright yellow and orange ‘Share a Little Sunshine’ campaign logo on his Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8.

In December, Mazda announced a partnership with VISIT FLORIDA®, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation, to promote awareness of the many attributes of the Sunshine State to race fans.  Racers competing in the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear will be competing for a new award, the VISIT FLORIDA Cup.  The Star Mazda Championship will begin later this month in Sebring, Fla. 

“We’re very excited to generate awareness for the ‘Share a Little Sunshine’ campaign and want to do what we can to bring tourism and jobs to Florida,” said Dempsey.  “It’s a bright idea and when you see the color scheme on the No. 40 Mazda this weekend in Homestead you’ll agree! I sent my invitation to visit the Sunshine State and I hope everyone else does too.  It’s a fun cause to support.”

“Share a Little Sunshine” is a grassroots campaign that hopes to boost Florida’s economy by helping encourage tourism, which is an industry responsible for a million Florida jobs and about a fifth of the state's economy.  Tourism is Florida’s No. 1 job producer and it is estimated that every 85 visitors equals one job.  Interested Florida residents can find information at

To encourage Floridians to invite friends to visit, a prize package will be given away each quarter to someone who sent an invitation through The packages include such prizes as a Florida vacation or even a Mazda MX-5 Miata.  The more invitations someone sends, the more they are entered to win.

“Racers love Florida for both work and fun.  And since racers have a hard time defining the difference between work and fun, Florida is the perfect place to be.  So, Florida race fans, be sure to take a minute to invite your out-of-state friends to visit,” noted John Doonan, MAZDASPEED Motorsports Team Development Manager.

VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Chris Thompson, who will be serving as the Honorary Chairman of the Race for Saturday’s Grand Prix of Miami, invites race fans to visit the Share a Little Sunshine booth in the garage area to send an invitation and be registered for the prizes.

“This partnership with Mazda Racing and Patrick’s team is a tremendous opportunity to draw attention to the importance of the tourism industry in Florida on a grand stage and in a really fun way,” said Thompson.  “I look forward to VISIT FLORIDA’s involvement in his racing effort all season and hope he has great success.”

Fun Facts:
• Florida is the No. 1 domestic travel destination in the U.S., welcoming 80 million visitors and employing more than 1 million Floridians.
• Mazda has scored 23 wins at the 24 Hours of Daytona and a dozen wins in the 12 Hours of Sebring since 1973. 
• The Florida based SpeedSource Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 team won the Rolex 24 at Daytona GT class in both 2008 and 2010.
• Sebring International Raceway has been a key sports car destination and tradition in central Florida for over half a century, drawing in excess of 150,000 spectators to its many races.
• Florida was the second state to have a Mazda office when they entered the U.S. market in 1970.  There are currently over 70 Mazda dealers in the state of Florida.
• Mazda was the first title sponsor of the Gator Bowl from 1986-1991.
• Florida is home to dozens of iconic race tracks including Daytona, Sebring, Homestead, Gainesville and the St. Petersburg street course.
• Mazda racers who currently call Florida home include Sylvain Tremblay, David Haskell, Charles Espenlaub, Felix Serralles, and Spencer Pigot.
• Florida is home to multiple car museums including the Don Garlits Museum, Daytona USA, Rick Treworgy’s Muscle Car City, the Sarasota Classic Car Museum and the Tallahassee Automobile Museum.


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 2,500 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.

Celebrating its 40th Anniversary in the United States in 2010, Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif. and 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; and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.


VISIT FLORIDA (VF) is the official tourism marketing corporation for the State of Florida.  VF is not a government agency, but rather a not-for-profit corporation that carries out the work of the Florida Commission on Tourism.  It was created by the Florida legislature in 1996 as a public/private partnership.  VF markets to consumers, both in the U.S. and abroad, works with the world's major travel journalists, represents the state at domestic and international travel trade shows and promotes the state to travel agents, tour operators and consumers all over the world. VF has hundreds of sales and promotional programs to help the state's many tourism businesses and destinations market themselves more effectively and affordably.  Learn more at


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