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Jan 31, 2005
SUNRISE, Fla. (January 31, 2005) -- Grand-Am Cup Series Sport Touring class defending champions, SpeedSource Race Engineering, has much to live up to during the 2005 season. Their goals are set high and are working to bring home the manufacturers championship for Mazda. The team has already made two steps in the right direction with hard work in the off season and an incomparable roster of drivers.
The SpeedSource new DTS Engine Dyno did not stay cool for long while engine developments and gains continued to be made throughout the short off-season. The entire SpeedSource crew worked vigorously over the break to improve on what already brought the team the championship in 2004. Pit stops were practiced and teamwork has remained the main objective. SpeedSource enters the 2005 season with their goal of another championship remaining in view.
"It's going to be tough to improve on 2004 but I think everyone at SpeedSource is up to the challenge," says David Haskell team engineer.
"Last year was the first year for the Mazda RX-8 in competition, and we are still improving our effort in many ways. We're looking forward to a good 2005."
With Mazda and MazdaSpeed Motorsports remaining on as sponsors, the team will hit the Daytona track with an array of familiar faces as well as some promising newcomers.
In car No. 70, Haskell and team owner, Sylvain Tremblay, will be back as partners to defend their Driver and Team Championship titles.
In the No. 68 car will be Scott Schlesinger and Jeff Altenburg. Altenburg is very excited about his new team.
"I've been friends with Sylvain for a long time and have admired his accomplishments. Joining such a successful team to race a Mazda RX-8 is fantastic! I must thank MazdaSpeed and SpeedSource for making this possible. Being teamed with Scott with his race wins and podium finishes should play a big part in our goals for success this year. We hope to deliver the Manufacturers Title to Mazda in 2005!" stated Altenberg.
Schlesinger drove with the SpeedSource team in 2004 and is back to do it all again with the RX-8's in 2005.
"I am excited to be driving with Jeff Altenberg . Jeff's talent and experience can help put the No. 68 in a position to finish well in the increasingly competitive Sports Touring Class. Sylvain Tremblay's and David Haskell's off-season dedication and commitment to the Mazda program has prepared the car to take on the challenges of the 2005 season".
Sponsors of the No. 68 car will include Mazda and MazdaSpeed Motorsports with the addition of LFD Tours.
Charles Espenlaub will join Marcelo Abello in the No. 66 car. Espenlaub brings a wealth of experience and drove with SpeedSource at the season finale in Fontana. Espenlaub is very happy with SpeedSource's diligent preparation as well as his new co-driver.
"It is great to be back in a SpeedSource Mazda RX-8. After driving with them at Fontana last season, it was very clear why SpeedSource has such great success. The car prep was beyond compare and the entire team worked incredibly well together. It is truly a privilege to continue my long relationship with Mazda and MazdaSpeed Motorsports. I hope to contribute in winning many championships for Mazda in the 2005 season. It is a pleasure to be working with Marcelo Abello. His eighth place finish in the championship combined with his unique sense of humor will surely provide for an interesting race week-end," shared Espenlaub.
Abello, too, is ready to race, "I am very excited to be driving with Charles at the historic Daytona International Speedway, in the most important race of the season."
International Jet Traders and Gulfstream Brazil will be the official sponsors of the SpeedSource No. 66 car.
SpeedSource No.67 will be the ride for Rich Walker and SCCA stand-out, Jose Armengol in 2005. Discount Rental will continue on as sponsor for No. 67and will welcome the addition of Mondial Forwarding.
Running a limited schedule in the No. 65 car will be Glenn Bocchino and Roger Foo. Bocchino is an experienced Mazda driver who competed in Pro Formula Mazda and Star Mazda. He also took second in the SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Roger is another experienced Mazda driver who had competed as the Mazda Motorsports SPEED World Challenge Factory Driver. Cobalt Friction will be the sponsor for the No. 65.
Mazda's involvement with SpeedSource was very instrumental in bringing home not only the championship but Mazda's first professional win. Mazda will continue with very solid support for 2005 as Steve Sanders, manager for MazdaSpeed Motorsports explained.
"SpeedSource brought home both the Driver's Championship and Team Championship last year. This was an awesome accomplishment, considering the season was supposed to be a development year for the Mazda RX-8. It really demonstrated what this team is capable of, and sets the stage for 2005. SpeedSource is obviously targeting the Manufacturer's Championship in 2005, and I am very confident they will begin the season at Daytona stronger than ever," commented Sanders.
Another strong supporter of SpeedSource's efforts, Hawk Performance, has also recently announced their intention to support the team again in 2005.
"We are happy to announce that we will be extending our support to the team and MazdaSpeed Motorsports this season. The SpeedSource Mazda's and team drivers are a very important part of Hawk Performance's product development, as they help launch the latest Hawk Performance competition pads, DTC-70. SpeedSource will run the DTC-70 brake pads throughout the regular Grand Am season", said Jeffrey Barrow, Manager of Motorsports Marketing for Hawk Racing Group.
SpeedSource continues to receive strong support from Mechanix Wear, Dynamic, Racing Hart and MoTeC, with increased support from Mazda, Hawk, Sparco, and Goodridge.
Mazda North America Operations is responsible for the sales and marketing, customer parts and services support of Mazda vehicles in the United States. The company's cars are involved in more road races and autocrosses than those of any other brand. Mazda is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and it sells its vehicles, parts and service through more than 700 dealerships nationwide.