This weekend, March 1-2, 2013, marks the arrival of the GRAND-AM Road Racing’s Rolex Sports Car Series, and the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) races – both being held in Texas for the first time since the GRAND-AM racing began in 1999.
These will be the very first American road races held at Circuit of The Americas, and the second major racing event hosted by the world-class Austin facility, following last November’s inaugural FORMULA 1™ UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX. Now that the months of new car preparation and the season opening Rolex 24 at Daytona are memories, the SpeedSource team is ready for the next task -- the first ever professional sports car race at the new Formula1 track, Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. SpeedSource is arguably among the best prepared teams in the sport.
The #70 Mazda6 will be piloted by SpeedSource leader Sylvain Tremblay with Tom Long co-driving. “We can’t wait to get to Austin," Tremblay commented. "The track looks amazing. The efforts of everyone at SpeedSource, working with Mazda, will get us to the front and our young guys are going to make me work that much harder behind the wheel.”
Tom has a strong background in both GRAND-AM GT and Continental Tire ST with Mazda. "It'll be very exciting to be a part of the GRAND-AM maiden visit to COTA in Austin. I think the circuit well suited for our Mazda6 SKYACTIV-D where a nimble platform and incredible torque from the diesel powerplant will help propel us between corner complexes," stated driver Tom Long. "In visiting the facility earlier this season for a test, I found the circuit has lots of similarities to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca: large sweeping elevation changes, technical areas that complement the Mazda’s handling ability, and both have final hairpin corners leading onto front straights."
The #00 VISIT FLORIDA RACING entry will have Joel Miller and Tristan Nunez as the rookie teammates. “The nature of a diesel engine presents different challenges in engineering and the guys in the SpeedSource engine department have been working hard to prepare us for the next round at COTA," added Miller. "The car is a pleasure to drive with its superb braking and handling characteristics. From what I have heard about the COTA circuit, I fully expect the Mazda6 to be more than up to the challenge. I am looking forward to our week in Texas and showing the MAZDA fans there the SKYACTIV technology and the new Mazda6!"
Joel and Tristan are two of the young guns who have earned their stripes in the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Ladder winning championships.
“I am so honored to be chosen by SpeedSource to be a part of the development of the SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel Mazda6," commented Nunez. "Ever since I started racing in Skip Barber Racing School it has been my dream to be a Mazda Motorsports driver. This is my debut as a professional driver and it is a privilege to be in a car carrying Visit Florida livery. I am excited to be partnered with Joel Miller because I will be able to learn a lot from his tremendous depth of experience. But I must confess, it will be an eye-opener to be racing a full season against high level competitors and there are a few tracks that are new to me.”
John Doonan, Director of Motorsports, Mazda North American Operations, is enthusiastic about the driver line-up, “We’re thrilled to have Tom, Joel and Tristan racing with Sylvain in the Mazda Motorsports/SpeedSource racecars here. The nature of the Mazda ladder system is that we have a pipeline of amazing talent from the ranks of the Pro Mazda, USF2000, MX-5 Cup, and Skip Barber. Many have climbed to the highest levels of the sport and we are very proud that we provided the path to their success.”
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