IRVINE, Calif. - With victories in every one of the professional series in which Mazda competes - Grand Am Cup Street Touring, American Le Mans Series LMP-2, Sports Car Club of America SPEED World Challenge Touring Class and the National Hot Rod Association PRO FWD - the 2005 season was a very good year for the manufacturer.
"Looking back at the 2005 season, it really was a combination of the highest highs and the lowest lows," said Steve Sanders, manager, MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development and the man responsible for Mazda's North American motorsport operations. "Our teams did Mazda proud every weekend, and my hat's off to each and every driver, crew member and team owner for their time, effort and commitment this year. For next year, we'll defend the championships we won this year, and plan to fight even harder to win the ones we didn't."
The 2005 professional racing season at a glance:
- American Le Mans Series, LMP-2 (Courage/RENESIS rotary engine) With a Courage chassis powered by a three-rotor RENESIS rotary engine derived from the Mazda RX-8 sportscar, B-K Motorsports finished the season in third place. Drivers Jamie Bach and Guy Cosmo were named co-Rookies of the Year for their consistent driving and for one win during the season.
- Grand Am Cup, Street Touring Class (RX-8): With wins at tracks across the country in 2005, SpeedSource repeated last year's feat as manufacturer's champion, but added team and driver's (for David Haskell) championships.
- Sports Car Club of America SPEED World Challenge, Touring Class (MAZDA 6 , Protegé): With one of the most competitive SPEED World Challenge seasons now complete, Mazda finished second in the manufacturer's championship, as teams competed with both MAZDA 6 and Protegé cars.
- Professional Formula Mazda (Star Formula Mazda/RENESIS rotary engine): As this one-make open-wheel series draws to a close, Raphael Matos - with four wins this year - takes the crown as driver's champion. With grid sizes averaging 40-plus cars, the Professional Formula Mazda series is the largest, most popular open-wheel race series in North America .
- National Hot Rod Association, PRO FWD (MAZDA6): Driver Ed Bergenholtz piloted his 1,200-plus horsepower MAZDA 6 to the driver's championship. The underdog team beat all competitors, including fully funded teams from General Motors.
- MAZDASPEED Miata Cup, Presented by Hankook (Mazda Miata): Justin Hall emerged as champion is this one-make series for first- and second-generation Mazda Miatas.
Looking forward to 2006, MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development intends to continue to be running up-front at tracks across the U.S.
On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle. Mazda's motorsport involvement even extends to the nation's premier road-racing circuit, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Mazda North American Operations is responsible for the sales and marketing, customer parts and services support of Mazda vehicles in the United States . Headquartered in Irvine , Calif. , MNAO has more than 700 dealerships nationwide.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Please visit www.mazdausamedia.com and www.mazdaspeedusa.com for more information.