Mazda Motorsports today announced team and driver line-ups for the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona, where the manufacturer will be seeking its 24th class win at the most famous endurance race in America. Mazda teams will be racing in an all-new Mazda6, powered by the all-new SKYACTIV-D clean diesel engine, in the new GRAND-AM GX class.
“We’re thrilled to be starting a new chapter of Mazda Motorsports history with the race debut of our all-new Mazda6 racecar, powered by our all-new production based SKYACTIV-D clean diesel engine. Our long-time engineering partner, SpeedSource, has led the technical development of the program in hand with Mazda engineers in Japan and the U.S.,” noted John Doonan, motorsports director, Mazda North American Operations. “SpeedSource will be joined in Daytona by Freedom Autosport and VISIT FLORIDA Racing/SpeedSource/Yellow Dragon Racing. Our driver line-ups include a talented mix of young guns and veterans, all of whom are from the extended Mazda family.”
- SpeedSource #70: Jonathan Bomarito, Marino Franchitti, James Hinchcliffe, Tom Long and Sylvain Tremblay. Tom Long joins the 2012 SpeedSource Rolex 24 GT driver line-up.
- VISIT FLORIDA Racing/SpeedSource/Yellow Dragon #00: Joel Miller, Tristan Nunez, Spencer Pigot, Yojiro Terada, and Tristan Vautier. Terada is of course the veteran Mazda racer who has competed in more than two dozen 24 Hours of Le Mans races. The others are all racers who have won championships within the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Ladder and the Mazda Road to Indy.
- Freedom Autosport #25: Andrew Carbonell, Tom Long, Rhett O’Doski, and Derek Whitis. Freedom Autosport has been a winning team in the Continental Tire Challenge with Mazda. They are moving up as a complete team.
The first of the cars will make its public debut at the “Roar Before the 24” test session at the Daytona International Speedway on January 4-6, 2013.
The #70 car will also be at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The Rolex 24 Hour race is January 26-27, 2013. Teams and driver pairings for the complete 2013 Rolex GRAND-AM full-season will be announced at a later date.
While Mazda welcomes Freedom Autosport and Yellow Dragon Racing to the Mazda6 family, two other teams are going elsewhere in 2013.
"We want to thank everyone at Dempsey Racing and Team Sahlen’s for racing with Mazda these past few years. Both teams contributed greatly to Mazda’s success in the GRAND-AM series, highlighted by our Manufacturers GT Championship in 2010. Both teams scored GT-class race wins,” noted John Doonan. “We wish everyone at Dempsey Racing and Team Sahlen’s great success in 2013, and we part as friends. We may still collaborate on future programs in the years ahead, and we’ll always welcome them back to the Mazda family, should it make sense for both of us."
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 2,500 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 Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
Consumer information can be found at www.mazdausa.com and fans can follow the action on facebook (Mazdaspeed Motorsports).
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