Fuel stops are key to any endurance team’s race strategy. With its stable of three Mazda 6 diesels, Team Mazdaspeed kept its fuel strategy during the three-hour enduro At Buttonwillow in April simple by not stopping at all.
Driving the No. 70 car, Ken Saward did the whole stint himself and took home first place for his efforts.
“I kept thinking of the word ‘sublime’ while I was driving it, because once you get into a rhythm in the car, it feels so good,” Saward said. “It’s got a ton of torque. It’s a very comfortable car to drive.”
Teammate Jeremy Barnes took over in the No. 55 car halfway through the race, replacing co-driver Preston Lerner. An automotive journalist who contributes to a number of major magazines, Lerner will be writing a story about the race, and the Skyactiv diesel program in the Mazdaspeed cars and in the Tudor United Sports Car racing for Automobilemag.com. Barnes drove the car to second-place in E1. The third Mazda 6, the No. 56 car finished fourth in the race.
The second round of the 2014 WERC series also marked the beginning of the new Boneyard Series, a racing program NASA SoCal designed to bring older racecars that are no longer competitive out of the garage and back onto the track. Two cars entered the Small Bone class. Shawn Meze finished first, with Team Need Speed Orozco in second.
In E0, Raffi Hartounian piloted his BMW M3 to first place, followed by Team Tobar in second and Gorman Motorsports in third. In ES, Team Quick Racing Products topped Prototype Development Group, which finished second. Team Prototype Development is the car that caught fire at Thunderhill during the 25, but was put back together in time to finish, and took first in the first WERC race of the season at Sonoma Raceway in February. Great teamwork getting this car back together. Team Life’s Good Racing took third in its Howe chassis Camaro.
As competitive as ever, E3 had six cars start the race. Topping them all was Bruce Pendleton, who teamed up with Tyler Vance to take first. Team Tahoe Pacific Racing took second, followed by Team Ram Rod and Team TrackHQ.com in fourth.
In E2, Team RDR finished first in its RX-8, which did have to stop for fuel, and IDMLOCO Racing in second. In ES, there was only one car, a Mazda sports racer that took first despite retiring after 34 laps.