The endurance record breaking Mazda RX-8 is to compete in the newly formed Production S1 series of endurance races and will be driven by Formula Woman race champion Natasha Firman and former Vauxhall Vectra SRi V6 Challenge and Alfa Romeo Champion, Mark Ticehurst.
The Mazda RX-8 race car, entered by Mazda Motors UK/Guglielmi Motorsport, will make its debut at Silverstone on 26 March. A second Mazda RX-8, to be driven by journalists, will be entered in selected races.
Following the growth in popularity of the Britcar series in recent years the organisers, the European Endurance Racing Club (EERC), decided to create the Production S1 category for production-based saloon and GT cars of up to 3-litres engine capacity for the 2005 season.
The series starts at Silverstone on 26 March and features races at Brands Hatch (16 April, 25/26 June and 19 November), Cadwell Park (1 October), Donington (5 November), Oulton Park (6 August) and Snetterton (21/22 May and 16 July) and includes the Britcar 24 Hour race at Silverstone on 10/11 September.
In October 2004, Mazda set a total of 40 international records with two Mazda RX-8s during a 24-hour record attempt on the 12.3 km oval at the automotive proving grounds in Papenburg, Germany. The two 231 ps Mazda RX-8s drove more than 5,000 kms during the 24-hour record attempt with average speeds of 212.835 and 215.934 km/h. This broke a Mazda record set in 1991 by Bertrand Gachot, Johnny Herbert and Volker Weidler at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans when the team drove the Mazda 787B race car with a 700 ps rotary engine exactly 4,923.2 km with an average speed of 205.133 km/h.
Commenting on the announcement, Jeremy Thomson, Mazda Marketing Director said: “Last year we proved the speed and reliability of the RX-8 when we set 40 international records. This year we want to demonstrate that speed and reliability in the more testing environment of endurance racing.”Mazda RX-8 Race Cars
The cars used in the Production S1 series are based on the standard, road going Mazda RX-8 sports coupés. The seats and many interior panels have been removed, and each car has undergone a number of essential safety modifications - including the addition of a roll-cage, fire extinguisher, race seat and some suspension alterations necessary for racing. The revolutionary 1.3-litre, 231 ps RENESIS rotary engine and gearbox are standard.
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