Another Championship Season for Mazda
As the 2011 racing season winds down, Mazda secured two manufacturers championships and just missed scoring a third by three-tenths of a second. This past weekend, Mazda teams delivered a pair of trophies -manufacturers championships in the American Le Mans Series LMP1, and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Street Tuner (ST) class.
John Doonan, Director of Motorsports for Mazda North American Operations summed it up; “As any racer will tell you, championships actually take years to accomplish as you need to develop both the people and the products. We can’t thank our partners enough. The collective efforts from Dempsey Racing, Dyson Racing, Freedom Autosport, i-Moto Racing, Racers Edge, SpeedSource, and Team Sahlen has resulted in race wins in three series, a clean sweep of the ALMS titles for drivers, teams, and our Mazda MZR-R engine, and a Continental Tire manufacturers championship. This success was achieved through the same qualities as our street cars – great performance combined with quality, durability, and reliability.”
In the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Mazda locked up all three 2011 LMP1 championships – manufacturers, team, and drivers, with a second-place finish at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The Dyson Racing LMP1Lola is powered by a turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder Mazda MZR-R engine against Aston Martin with their V12 prototype. The Dyson team has scored two overall wins including a one-two in Baltimore where they also won the Green X Challenge. The ALMS season will conclude with the ten-hour Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta on October 1st.
In the Continental Tire Challenge – Street Tuner class, Mazda won the 2011 Manufacturers Championship by 26 points over VW, BMW, KIA, Mini, Honda and Porsche. Freedom Autosport and i-Moto Racing led the Zoom-Zoom charge with multiple MAZDASPEED3s and MX-5s at every race. Both teams took Mazda to the winners circle and delivered a total of three race wins and ten podium finishes from ten races, including a 1-3 finish in the series final at the Mid-Ohio Sports car Course.
In the Rolex Grand-Am Championship, the Mazda RX-8 competes in the GT class against their traditional sports car rivals; Porsche, BMW, and Chevrolet. After an intense season of competition Mazda missed repeating as manufacturers champions by three-tenths of a second in the final race of the season. The combined efforts of SpeedSource, Dempsey Racing, and Team Sahlen resulted in one race win and 14 podium finishes from 12 races. Mazda was the manufacturers championship runner-up, and Mazda RX-8 teams finished third, fourth, and fifth in the team competition.
Mazda has also crowned three of four 2011 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder Champions, including two steps of the Mazda Road to Indy.
· Petri Suvanto won the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
· Tristan Vautier won theStar Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear
· Mike Cooper won the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup
The 2011 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda title is still up for grabs and will be decided on October 8th at Lime Rock Park.
About Mazda & MAZDASPEED
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 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, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario; and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
Consumer information can be found at www.mazdausa.com with press information at www.mazdausamedia.com Racers and fans can the action on facebook (Mazdaspeed Motorsports).