Team Sahlen will return to compete in the 2010 KONI Challenge Series. But instead of competing in their SpeedSource built Mazda RX-8, the team will be trading in their rotary power for some turbo power. For 2010, Team Sahlen will be campaigning a brand new 2010 MAZDASPEED3 being built by SpeedSource. The MAZDASPEED3 will be completed and delivered to Team Sahlen at the January Test Days at Daytona International Speedway
For 2010, Mazda has identified a new opportunity, entering the all-new MAZDASPEED3 five-door in the hotly contested KONI Challenge series in the Street Tuner (ST) class. MAZDASPEED engineers will work in partnership with SpeedSource to develop the car with all parts and information shared with all Mazda customers.
Joe Sahlen, Team Sahlen “We are very excited to have the opportunity to be able to campaign this brand new MAZDASPEED3 for Mazda. I enjoyed getting to drive the RX-8 in ST for the past 3 years. But now I am truly motivated to be stepping behind the wheel of this new SpeedSource built racer. Team Sahlen raced a turbo front wheel drive sport compact from a different Manufacturer a few years ago in KONI challenge, and we had great success with it. Hopefully some of the lessons we learned can be off assistance in the evolution of the MAZDASPEED3 into a winner in the ST class.
Sylvain Tremblay, SpeedSource Inc. “Its very significant to our goals that we now have Team Sahlen joining our efforts to campaign the brand new 2010 MAZDASPEED3 in the KONI Challenge Series. Having Team Sahlen as a partner with SpeedSource and MAZDASPEED in both the KONI and ROLEX series will be a strong benefit as we all work to take on the competition in both Grand American classes.”
Will Nonnamaker, Team Sahlen “By trading in our KONI ST class RX-8 for the MAZDASPEED3, I feel that now we can be of great assistance Mazda in winning the 2010 Manufacturer’s Title. In 2009, Team Sahlen assisted in capturing several top Mazda finishes to secure 2nd in the Manufacturer battle. But now, with the MAZDASPEED3, I feel that Mazda has to be one of the odds on favorites to capture the series crown.”
Steve Sanders, MAZDASPEED Motorsports “The greatest complement we receive is when racers chose to buy our products to race. And having Team Sahlen choose our products to race in both the ROLEX and KONI series is proof of what we are trying to achieve. Team Sahlen is the last competitor in the KONI Challenge Series to win in a Front Wheel Drive Mazda. Hopefully that experience and knowledge will assist as the MAZDASPEED3 goes head-to-head with many of the same cars that our customers cross-shop.”
David Spitzer, Grand-Am “The KONI Challenge has over a dozen makes and models competing for the most diverse grid in racing. We are happy to welcome the new MAZDASPEED3 to the series.”
The car: The KONI Challenge Spec MAZDASPEED3 will feature a “crate stock engine” with a sealed factory ECU. All SpeedSource developed parts will be sold through MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development. This will ensure the same level of customer support that has made the RX-8 the car of choice in the Rolex Grand-Am GT championship. The street going MAZDASPEED3 has a standard 263hp turbocharged Mazda MZR engine and has a base MSRP of $23,945.
Mazda is the brand of choice for road-racers across North America. More than 9,000 grassroots racers compete in various classes with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and the National Auto Sport Association (NASA). Racers who are years away from earning a driver’s license can now begin a professional motorsports careers in the Mazda family. A driver can begin in karts and progress through the Skip Barber series, Club Racing Formula Mazda, professional Star Mazda and finally to Formula Atlantic, all with Mazda. No other car company has ever connected the dots this way.
In addition to campaigning in the KONI Series with the SpeedSource MAZDASPEED3, Team Sahlen will also be debuting their recently acquired SpeedSource Mazda RX-8s in the ROLEX Sports Car Series during 2010. Both the GT & ST class Mazdas will be identically painted in the Team Sahlen Red, Black and Yellow branding that fans have become so familiar with over the years.
Phoenix Promotions is the organization that prepares the race cars for the Team Sahlen campaign. Phoenix Promotions’ history with MAZDASPEED dates all the way back to 1993 with the introduction of the new MX-6 Model.
The MX-6 competed in the ST class. Along the way, the team won the 1996 Rising Star Award, 1997 & 1998 Team Championships. Additionally the team secured Amateur crowns for Mazda: SCCA NEOHIO 1995 ITE class & 1997 SSA class titles. For 1999, the team unveiled the latest edition of the 626 model and won the Driver Championship. In all, 13 Professional Race Victories were accumulated by the team for Mazda. Then starting in 2007, the team rejoined Mazda by campaigning a RX-8 in the ST class. The KONI ST campaign continues into 2010, with the addition of 2 RX-8s in the ROLEX GT class.
The 2010 Team Sahlen ROLEX & KONI Challenge Series Campaign will be supported by MAZDASPEED, HRPWorld.com, HAWK Performance, Cool Shirt, TheRaceSite.com, Grassroots Motorsports, Holliday Canopies, Alcon, CM Racing, Genesis Technologies, Endurance Karting and SpeedSource Engineering.