Video Produced By: Mazda of Lakewood
(Daytona, Florida) Endurance racing is a cruel sport at times. Months of preparations and thousands of hours of labor can be swept away in moments of simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The four Mazda RX-8 Grand-AM GT race cars were fast, their rotary engines powerful and reliable, yet the final result was a single top-ten finish. After the race, car owners Sylvain Tremblay, Jon Mirachi, Joe Foster, and Patrick Dempsey had nothing but praise and appreciation for their crews and drivers, for all went above and beyond the call of duty.
Team: SpeedSource #70
Car: Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8
Drivers: Sylvain Tremblay, Nick Ham, David Haskell, Jonathan Bomarito
2009 Result: Started first, finished 19th
Notes: Led the first 20 minutes of the race until a hard bump to the curbing damaged the fuel cell. The replacement of the fuel cell took over an hour, losing over 40 laps in the process, dropping the team to dead last after 90 minutes. During the night, the team driving was superb – The #70 car the fast car on the track. The combination of Tremblay, Ham, Haskell, and Bomarito made up six laps on the leader and it looked like a top-ten finish was still possible until a broken exhaust and half shaft further delayed the team.
Team: SpeedSource #69
Car: FXDD Mazda RX-8
Drivers: Emil Assentato, Nick Longhi, Matt Plumb, Jeff Segal
2009 Result: Started fourth, finished ninth.
Notes: The FXDD car was well prepared to uphold the SpeedSource honor until an on-track incident with a slower car caused extensive front end damage. The team spent almost an hour behind the pit wall replacing the front clip and the left front suspension. The team carried on to score valuable points with a solid ninth-place finish.
Car: 3-Dimensional Services Group/ Idemitsu Mazda RX-8
Drivers: Doug Peterson, Dane Cameron, Bryan Sellers, Dion von Moltke
2009 Result: Started 17th, finished 13th
Notes: The team ran very strong with Dane Cameron setting the second fastest lap of the race – especially impressive as it was set in the night. The team was delayed by difficult to diagnose electrical problems for the first half of the race. The team left Florida knowing they had a car and team capable of finishing on the podium, but confident for the races to come.
Car: Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Mazda RX-8
Drivers: Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster, Charles Espenlaub, Tim Lewis Jr., Jep Thornton
2009 Result: Started 28th, finished 22nd
Notes: Needless to say, Patrick Dempsey was the star of pre-race activities. The team partnership with the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer generated a great deal of favorable attention from beyond the motorsports press. The team was on-track for a strong finish until Jep Thornton crashed the car in the evening. The team rebuilt the front of the car only to have Jep involved in a second accident in the middle of the night. This was the first ever DNF for Dempsey Racing/Hypersport in the Rolex Grand-Am series.