The Final Test of the 2010 Grand American schedule occurred last week at Homestead Miami Speedway. At the Test, Team Sahlen brought both the #43 and #49 SpeedSource built Mazda RX-8s. Drivers for the two Mazdas was Memo Gidley and Wayne Nonnamaker. With this being the last of the year, there were several items that the team wanted to focus upon
The Homestead test was a unique event, as Teams had the opportunity to experience different Continental Tire Compounds on the two days of the test. This challenge kept the Team Sahlen crew on their toes the whole time. The positive outcome was that the engineering team lead Catherine Crawford Wallace was able to keep up with the changes and make alterations to maximize the potential of the differing compounds. The constant changes and alterations had positive impact on the track, as Team Sahlen ended the Homestead test as the Fastest Mazda.
Memo Gidley was very happy with the week’s testing – “I am really pleased with the speed of the #43 Sahlen Mazda RX8 at Homestead and what we accomplished there. The new Continental tire is very challenging to set up the car on and Wayne and I drove a lot of different changes to try to get a grasp on what works. We ended up finding a few gains and have a better idea of what direction we need to go in. I am also pleased with how our team is working together. The whole Team Sahlen is going through a lot of changes, new people, new equipment, new procedures and I know that trying to keep up with this and trying to compete at the front of the GT field is not easy. Everybody is working extremely hard and having the inspiration of seeing your car near the front of the time charts is a great reward and made all of us on the team proud. I think everybody on the team is dedicated to giving it 100% effort and I am proud to be part of this and look forward to seeing what we can achieve together in 2011.”
Wayne Nonnamaker was also just as enthusiastic, “Everyone on the team has been working so hard to push forward. Its so nice to see all that hard work pay off with a successful test. The great news is that we were able to make significant changes to both the #42 & #43 RX-8s, and they reacted quite well to the movements. And in the end both of the Team Sahlen Mazdas ended up within tenths of each other in fastest lap times for the test sessions. This bodes well for 2011, as we hope to be able to place all 3 of the Team Sahlen RX-8s to the sharp end of the grid.”
The next test for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series will be the “Roar before the 24” held at Daytona International Speedway on January 7th through the 9th. At this test, Team Sahlen will be entering both the #42 & #43 SpeedSource built Mazda RX-8s. Drivers will be Memo Gidley, Joe Sahlen, and Joe, Will & Wayne Nonnamaker.
Team Manager Jay Chapman shares is anticipation towards the January Test – “We have learned a lot from the Fall Testing Schedule. And we have several areas that we are going to continue to work on and develop between now and the January Test. The hope is to be able to test several new pieces at the test in hopes to continue to strive to reach the front of the very competitive GT field. The goal for 2011 to assist Mazda in recapturing the GT Manufacturer’s Title. Hopefully we are on pace to be of assistance throughout the year.”
The 2010 Team Sahlen GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 & GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Campaigns will be supported by Mazda, Mazdaspeed, HRPWorld.com, HAWK Performance, Cool Shirt, Racetech Seats, BBS, Racing Print Media, Alcon, Mothers Polish, EMCO, TheRaceSite.com, Grassroots Motorsports, Holliday Canopies, Alcon, CM Racing