No. 41 Team Seattle Mazda RX-8 GT Finishes Fifth At Grand Prix of Miami as No. 40 VISIT FLORIDA/ModSpace Mazda Exits Early
Dane and James head to 5th Place in Miami
HOMESTEAD, Florida (March 5, 2011) – Dane Cameron and James Gué finished fifth in Saturday’s Grand Prix of Miami in the Dempsey Racing No. 41 Team Seattle/Global Diving & Salvage Mazda RX-8 GT but their teammates Patrick Dempsey and Joe Foster had an early race exit in the Dempsey Racing No. 40 VISIT FLORIDA/ModSpace/Construct Corps Mazda RX-8 GT after a rare mechanical failure.
The No. 41 team’s solid result, which was highlighted by Cameron’s charge through the field after being hit by a Daytona Prototype, gave the Team Seattle entry its second-consecutive top-five showing at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Last year Gué and then teammate Leh Keen finished third in the Grand Prix of Miami to give Dempsey Racing its first GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series podium finish.
“I am pretty pleased, all things considered and with everything we went through,” said Cameron who replaced Keen this year. “Our car was awesome over the distance so the longer the green-flag run the more people we could just kind of pick through. We were pretty close to being about as good, except for maybe a couple of cars, on just outright pace, but everyone definitely came back to us over the long run.”
The team’s only major scare was a cut tire after the Daytona Prototype hit Cameron while he was running third. The No. 41 fell to 14th after a stop for new tires, but a long green-flag run that followed let Cameron steadily work his way back into contention. He even took the lead for two laps just before handing over to Gué with just under an hour remaining in the 2:45-timed race.
“Right in the middle of the race, right after we had the contact with the prototype and a flat tire, it was perfect, just a nice long run and we worked our way back up to the front,” Cameron said. “We had a really good strategy laid out for the last 45 minutes for James, but unfortunately a couple of long cautions kind of ultimately hurt our chances of where we would have ended up. I am still very pleased, top 10 at Daytona and top five here, so if we keep this kind of production up, we will be on the podium soon and get another win. The car is improving rapidly and James and I and our engineer Scott Besst, we all seem to be working very, very well together, so we are only going to get faster from here. I am very excited.”
Although the season is only two races old, Gué is already thinking championship after two good runs to start the year. The No. 41 Team Seattle Mazda has moved to sixth in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT Team Championship with 47 points, just 11 points out of first place.
“Overall I am pretty happy with a fifth place,” Gué said. “If you look at the big picture, where we started and where we ended up, it’s not a bad run. I got a little unlucky there with the way the cautions fell, we had a very good car over a very long run, and right at the end we kept getting caution after caution. That hurt us a little bit and may have cost us a spot or two, but we had a very solid car. A top five, that’s where you need to be for the long run, and we are talking championship here. You have to keep finishing in the top five.”
Team owner/driver Dempsey moved his race off to a good start but the No. 40’s day was done after 30 minutes when he came to a stop on course.
“I had a really good start, stayed with everybody and did what we wanted to do, which was just to stick with the others for the first couple of laps and then just start going after people,” Dempsey said. “I held off the 59 Porsche for a long time but then he got by and I actually used him quite a bit, watching his line to get through and steadily move up the order. I got up there and felt pretty good, but then the tires just started going away, there was just no grip and you had no bite, and then I spun it. We got lucky with the yellow, came in and changed all four tires, and then got out, but then the water was overheating, smoke started filling up the cockpit and that was it, I just had to get out.”
Dempsey’s teammate Foster never had a chance to drive the No. 40 Mazda in the race.
“Patrick qualified well, faster than he has ever gone, and he passed three or four cars and was ahead of the No. 59 Porsche early on,” Foster said. “He had some sort of mechanical issue, spun in his own fluids but made it back to the pits and we got him back out. But whatever was leaking kept leaking fluids and the motor expired due to that. Big picture, maybe we were due, who knows, because we have had nothing but perfect reliability from our Mazda in the past. The 40 car completed more miles last year than any other car in the whole series – Daytona Prototype or GT – but this is bound to happen now and then. That’s just racing, but Patrick did a great job and the No. 41 had a great weekend, so we are still happy.”
Next up for Dempsey Racing and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park, April 7 – 9. The race will air on SPEED on Sunday, April 10 at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT. Learn more about Dempsey Racing at www.dempseyacing.net.