Mustang's @ Raguna
IRVINE, Calif. - Sebring isn’t just a race. It’s an endurance racing classic, backed up by over half a century of tradition. Support is provided by a great portfolio of sprint races for sports car and open wheel racers. There were more Mazda powered cars in more races than any other brand at Sebring this past week. A quick recap of the week:
In the feature event, the 55 th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, B-K Motorsports debuted an all new turbocharged Mazda MZR-R engine that didn’t even exist on paper just a few months ago. The team used the race as the ultimate test session – one with 175,000 spectators and ten hours of live TV. The team encountered a number of small, relatively minor problems related to the throttle linkage, and a failed external oil-line, resulting in three lengthy behind the wall pit stops. The car and the team kept going all race long in spite of the delays. After twelve hours the international driving team of American Jamie Bach, Englishman Ben Devlin, and Brazilian Raphael Matos completed 224 laps in their brand new Lola B07/46 Mazda MZR-R.
Robert Davis, Senior Vice President, Product Development and Quality, and the person responsible for Mazda’s North American motorsports operations under the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development banner r emarked, “Given the fact that this engine program began just 17 weeks ago, the Mazda engineering team is proud of the collective efforts of B-K Motorsports, Advanced Engine Research (AER), Garrett by Honeywell, Lola, Kumho, ZF Sachs, and all of our technical partners. We could have taken the easy route and debuted mid-season, but we knew that we could learn more in 12 hours on the harsh Sebring track than weeks of conventional testing. With a points finish not possible after the off-track repairs, the team began doing valuable chassis tuning, testing various set-ups in order to prepare for the upcoming street races in St. Pete, Long Beach, and Houston. The problems we encountered are all quite simple and normal for a new powertrain. The best news is the team enthusiasm for the rest of the season; everyone is pumped on the potential in the package.”
In other Sebring races:
In the SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge Touring Car Race, the Tri-Point Engineering team had a perfect start to their season with Jeff Altenburg and Randy Pobst qualifying and finishing 1-2 in a pair of MAZDASPEED6’s. Jeff and Randy were chased across the line by a pack of Acuras, Audis, BMWs, Dodges, Volvos, and a VW. Mazda finished second in the 2006 manufacturers championship and is looking to move up the final step in 2007.