Mazda RX-8 Closes Grand-Am Career With Disappointment

by Jonathan Whitney

With the end of the 2012 Grand-Am Rolex Series season on Sunday, not only did SpeedSource racing team mark the end of a year of racing, but also the end of a five-year long association with the Mazda RX-8 GT car which has seen eighteen race wins, numerous pole positions and the overall 2010 Grand-Am GT Championship.

The #70 SpeedSource Mazda finished its tenure with an eleventh place at Lime Rock Park, but given the circumstances that result is not as disastrous as it first seems – although disappointing. After setting quick times in practice, driver Sylvain Tremblay set the fourth fastest time in qualifying before suffering a crash which destroyed much of the front of the car. Despite this, the team were able to rebuild the car in time for the start of the race.

However, there was to be a further setback just before the start of the race when Tremblay went off of the track on the warm-up lap and became trapped in the wet grass. The race had to be started under a caution, and when Tremblay rejoined the event he was now a lap down on his competitors. It proved a thankless task trying to get back up the leaderboard on the tight and twisty track.

At the end of Tremblay’s stint he handed the #70 over to Jonathan Bomarito in thirteenth place. After reaching twelfth position, Bormarito was then unceremoniously punted off of the track by another car, and was then forced to limp back to the pits where the team had to remove both left side doors before he could return to the course. Even with this setback Bormarito was still able to set respectable and consistent lap times and by the time the chequered flag fell he was in eleventh place.

The result means that Mazda retain their third place in the manufacturer’s championship, whilst both Bomarito and Tremblay and SpeedSource finished fourth in the drivers’ and teams’ standings respectively.

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