Mazda has notched up its 23rd class win at the gruelling Rolex 24 Hour Daytona race held over the weekend in Florida.
In what was a stunning come from behind win, the Castrol Syntec SpeedSource RX-8 #70 team of Sylvain Tremblay, David Haskell, Nick Ham, and Jonathan Bomarito took the chequered flag in the event’s fiercely-contested GT class.
Having already notched up 22 class wins in the annual 24 hour endurance race, expectations were high in the Mazda camp. And it was a strong start for Mazda, with Mazda RX-8’s sweeping to each of the top three qualifying positions. Unfortunately, a variety of minor problems and bad luck early in the big race scuppered any chance of a podium finish for most.
After qualifying third, the Castrol Syntec SpeedSource team had their eyes planted on the prize from early on. But the win didn’t come easily. A caution flag came out after a pit stop, losing them a lap and then a hit from a Daytona Prototype eight hours into the race lost them a further six laps.
Undeterred, the SpeedSource team spent the next ten hours methodically moving up the charts until taking the lead at lap 563 in the 20th hour. They held the lead to the end, completing 707 laps of the 4km Daytona circuit for a total distance of over 3,000km.
“The RX-8 rotary power was flawless and our bad luck in the early hours was countered by others having issues later in the race.” said Robert Davis, Senior Vice President, Product Development & Quality and the man responsible for Mazda’s North American motorsports operations under the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development banner.
Overall, it was a strong result for Mazda with three of the seven Mazda RX-8’s finishing in the top ten in the GT class. The #40 Dempsey Racing RX-8 (driven by Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey) finished 6thand the #43 Team Sahlen RX-8 was close behind in 7th.
SpeedSource’s win is the 23rd for Mazdaspeed supported vehicles in the history of the race.