August 6, 1999

Dear FM Racers:

Irwindale, Sears Point, and Portland, the latter two on TV and with America LeMans, made for a challenging three-weekend stretch; but the racing was especially good at Irwindale and Portland and all three were fun weekends. The next Star Mazda Series appearance on TV will be August 20, at 6:30 p.m. Eastern, on espn2. That will be the race on the Pikes Peak one-mile oval. Do not miss it. It was a super competitive event. It should be a thrilling show.

Results and points for Sears Point and Portland are enclosed, along with Jane Anderson’s race reports. Congratulations to Joey Hand for two exemplary victories and taking back the points leads for both the Best Western and West Division Series. A "tip of the hat" also goes to Star Mazda Series regular Sara Senske for blowing the competition away in the women’s Global GT race at Portland, winning by over 27 seconds!

Next race in the West is Thunderhill’s three-mile roller coaster. That schedule is enclosed. Note the FM race will be early on Sunday, hopefully, before it gets hot. N.A.S.A. weekends are always fun. They are excited to have our race and are very accommodating. There should be ample track time with FM testing available all day Thursday and open testing all day Friday before the race.

Those going to the race at Heartland Park, Topeka, are reminded this is a Pro Sports Car sanctioned event. Bring your permanent parking pass and your hard card for a hassle-free, no-standing-in-line weekend. FM testing will be available Thursday, through the Series, for $250 per car. Five 30-minute sessions are scheduled for FM that day.

The new Goodyear tires for FM are in the country and should be available through your normal tire supplier in the next few days. They will be the spec (430 compound) for Thunderhill and Topeka. The Goodyear item numbers are D1026 for the 20x7-13 front, and D1027 for the 22x9-13 rear. The price for a set of four has gone down about $30 and the weight is down about six pounds a set. You are going to love these new tires.

The entry and schedule for the "Petit LeMans" weekend at Road Atlanta are enclosed. Please note this time the race will be on Sunday, not Saturday. Last visit to Road Atlanta we had some terrific racing and a 41-car field. The "Petit LeMans" weekend will not be a Best Western Championship race, except for the Masters, so the field will probably have a little more East-of-the-Rockies look. However, we expect the racing to be no less exciting and hard fought than any other major Star Mazda event. Will there be a new track record with the new Goodyear tires?

FYI: some of you have asked for tuning tips for the new tires. We will pass along anything we learn once we have had a chance to work with the tire. The testing we did for Goodyear early this year was to gather data on various development tires, none of which was exactly the same as the final specification engineers derived from the test data. Also, we did not attempt to optimize the chassis setup for each tire, at Goodyear’s request. So, we all get to start even, which is the way we think it should be.

Same for the new exhaust system. We have tested a vast number of components against the criteria we established for durability, price, of course sound level, horsepower, etc. The final version has been tested on the dymo for comparison to the "old" system to be sure the new one would not hurt performance. The supply of the finalized specification parts will be shipped to everyone at the same time, once there are enough on hand to fill the initial orders received by the end of July deadline. None will be shipped until they all can be shipped. No one gets a head start, including the "factory team." That’s the way we have always done it. We expect tuning differences to be minimal, if any. We will pass along any tuning information developed once we confirm it. We think everyone will be very pleased with the new parts.

See you at the races!

Gary E. Rodrigues