After a tenacious run, the #07 Mazda Prototype takes class 9th
The #70 (Sylvain Tremblay / Tom Long / Ben Devlin) which started the race sporting on its body the name of “Takashi Yamauchi”, the Mazda Chairman who announced his retirement at a shareholders’ meeting that took place a few days before, discovered an oil leak at lap 13. Unfortunately they had to withdraw from the race prematurely. At approximately the same time, the #07 (Joel Miller / Tristan Nunez / Tristan Vautier), which had its suspension link smashed after getting caught up in some commotion that occurred in the early stages, entered the pits. Although there was concern that it might take a while to get the car back out on the track, before long the car was exiting the pits to rejoin the race. Vautier, who was driving at the time, said, “I was surrounded by a number of cars so I’m not sure which, but one of them hit me. Luckily, though, the repairs didn’t take too much effort.”
Enduring cockpit temperatures that weren’t much different to a sauna, Vautier drove for one and a half hours and then pitted to hand the reins over to 18-year old Nunez. This young man just graduated from high school this June. Nunez displayed a fast pace that was catching up with the vehicles in the lead but unfortunately he was forced to pit half way in due to electrical issues. This resulted in another time loss. Still, he was able to complete his 2-hour double stint and hand over the car to the anchor, Joel Miller. Miller darted around the course at a serious place that rivaled qualifying times and, after also completing a double stint, received the checkered flag. In the final stages there were crashes and cars running off the course one after another, telling signs of the severity of this summer endurance race. Although the Mazda LMP2 was separated from the leading cars by more than 10 laps due to both an accident and electrical issues, the pace of the machine is undeniable. It is certain that this race will have instilled in them confidence that they will bring into the next two summer races at Bowmanville, Canada and Indianapolis.
Mazda USA’s motorsports director, John Doonan, said, “I always have great admiration for the teamwork displayed by the SpeedSource team. Their efforts to pursue the cause of troubles and repair damage encountered in an accident was precise and decisive. It’s a shame about the number 70. I’d like to applaud the strong driving of our young driver team who are so full of energy.” You can see what he means when you look at the bright smiles on their faces post race. The development of the Mazda LMP2 progresses with each passing round and it seems it is only a matter of time before they are standing on the podium.
Photo by MZRacing