October 30, 2003

To All Star FM Pro Car Drivers And Teams:

We are writing to bring you up to date on the testing and development of the New Formula Mazda Pro Car. We list below information, which was covered at our lunch meeting following the tour of the Panoz/G Force facilities (EMT), during the week of Petit Le Mans. We hope you find this information interesting and useful as you plan your program for 2004. We wish to emphasize that the car and the rules are works in progress and that your thoughts and suggestions are always welcome. Cars are now in production, with the first deliveries to customers targeted for the first week of December. The delivery rate is planned for one car per working day on average, about 21 cars per month.

We are now in the process of freezing the design for the first year and writing the detailed rules for 2004 competition. We plan to publish the first draft of the rules in December with the target for “official” rules being January 30th. This should give several drivers and teams time to work a bit with the new car and give us any feedback they wish before the rules are “in stone”. Of course, if any overriding consideration should arise at any time it will be expeditiously dealt with. Otherwise, we will strive to maintain rules stability season-by-season, with only occasional year-end updates for the subsequent season.

Here is a summary of items covered at the lunch meeting in Atlanta.

Since the Star Race Cars debut of the 2004 Pro car at Mazda Raceway in September, 2002:

Testing - 27 days on track, over 3000 miles, nine drivers.

Drivers were chosen for varied experience and driving styles, to help determine the range of adjustment needed to accommodate different drivers and tracks, within the new car specs.  Drivers were -

                                    Westley Barber

                                    Mark Rodrigues

                                    Jason La Point

                                    Guy Cosmo

                                    Mikel Miller

                                    Steve Cameron

                                    Ron White

                                    Steve Anderson

                                    Scott Bradley


Tracks were -

                                    Hethel, UK (Lotus test track)


                                    Road Atlanta





                                    Road America

                                    Willow Springs

                                    Mosport, Ont

                                    Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

We also did high-speed runs on Mojave Airport's runway, with Mike Williams driving.


To date, the following changes have resulted:

Radiators/oil coolers - three times

Side pods/ducting - three times, going on four (seen during Panoz/G-Force tour of Pro Mazda car construction)

Drive shaft/tripod cups and plungers

Wheels- BBS F-1 style, forged aluminum (light as die cast mag, but much tougher)

Brake M/cyls resized

Brake rotors and calipers - now Alcon 11inch x 0.70, vented

Differential - open (not limited slip), changed to 9/31 cwp

Tires - 3 compounds tested, two different constructions, and 11-inch rear tread being built for next test

Bell housing/trans adaptor - moved starter to left side for better weight balance/less heat from exhaust

Shocks - Ohlins revalved/ Springs - now 4 inch free length all positions, by Hyperco Sway bars - resized

Rear suspension geometry - twice

Relocated fire extinguisher and battery

MoTec M4 engine control unit - renegotiated upgrade to MoTec custom-built M400

"FM", required new wiring harness, mapping, and motor controls/traction

 control/shifter control

Steering wheel/paddle shifter/air piston/regulators/air solenoids/4 different control

boxes/air tank w/remote fill

Header and muffler - three versions

Rain light changed

Foot pedals

Wings, camber plates/end plates, wing mounts w/ quick lift hooks

Front wing flap adjusters with detents (Indy style)

Diffuser w/ replaceable skegs

Engine cover/side pods - fewer fasteners to get at motor/rear shocks and sway bar

Rerouted shift cable to avoid heat

Cold air box for motor intake

Reshape fuel filler neck to accommodate servicing around cold air box

"Tall man" cockpit surround, needed by some to ease use of HANS device

1 inch wider opening in dash bulkhead

Front suspension tethers

Many more fasteners now US sizes

Motor - Eight days dyno testing over 18 months

Simplified plumbing

Oil pump/water pump/fuel rail/oil pressure regulator/fuel pressure regulator/throttle body/crank fire ignition systems (2)

"You are going to love this motor" - 7.1 mpg, 0 to 60 mph in 2.87seconds w/spec gears


There will be more updates, but probably not in the first year of competition, unless something urgent crops up.


"Draft" rules outline for 2004 Pro car - input invited, written draft will be published before cars start to be delivered.


A ten race schedule for 2004 was announced at 2003 banquet and is on our web site, www.starmazda.com.


1)  No modifications - adjust only as explicitly stated by rules.

2)  Motor will be dynoed and sealed (two piece ceramic apex seals will be permitted on rebuild).

3)  Sealed shocks - no sealastics or packers.

4)  Motors, shocks, and ECUs may only be serviced through Series, which will maintain history of each.

5)  Limited data acquisition - no load-sensing pushrods.  No telemetry.

6)  Springs - issued through Series, only marked Hyperco 600, 700, 800, 900, and 1000 lbs/inch, any four, in any position.

7)  Spec sway bars (F-cockpit adj, R-adj)

8)  Suspension pick ups - only one option, on rear, at lower forward inboard position.

9)  Wings - may remove rear, upper, forward element

10) Brake pads - only two compound choices, one supplier TBA.

11) Spec tires - limited to two marked sets for weekend's official schedule (3 x :30 practices, 1 x qualifying, 1 x race).  May allow use of previously marked tires for first practice.  Comments?  Rain tires at drivers discretion, as always.

12) Spec gears - Two stacks, no mixing.  Ten total ratios.  Short stack to 145 mph.  Long stack to 160 mph.  First gear ratio never changes.  Short stack 4th is long stack 3rd.

13) HANS device required.  Or equivalent (prove it).

14) Tub and nose repair guidelines will be published - significant repairs to the "crash structure" must be done by Panoz/G-Force.

15) Suspension parts and fiberglass must be original, unmodified, as delivered.

16) Fasteners - free, as before.

17) An "oval kit" will be developed.

18) Year end prize money - $500,000 cash guaranteed.  Champion gets $100,000 plus a new Mazda RX-8.  Rookie bonus is $10,000.    

After Atlanta we have continued testing and have finalized the suspension geometry, shocks, springs, and sway bar specs. We are very pleased with the upgrade from the Motec M-4 to the M-400, an engine control unit that normally sells for more than twice the price. We have decided to delete the air shifter and steering wheel paddle for the first season, because we are not yet satisfied with the reliability of the downshift process. We will continue to develop this technology, and hopefully, make it available for season two (2005). In the meantime, the up-shift without lift feature will still be included on the car. We are still testing variations on tire construction and compounds with Goodyear, so cars will be delivered on the 430 compound “test” tires we have been mostly using, with the tire decision soon and final spec tire production starting in December.

As always, our objective is to deliver to you, safe, reliable, and equal racecars that are as low cost to operate and as fast and fun to drive as we can contrive, within those parameters. We have made great strides over this last year and are very proud of what has been achieved. We think you are going to love racing this car.        

We list below the complete 2004 schedule for “The Star Mazda Series North American Championship presented by Goodyear”.

March 19                     Sebring

June 26                        Mid Ohio

July 3                           Lime Rock

July 17                         Infineon

July 24                         Portland

August 7                      Mosport

August 21                    Road America

September 24              Road Atlanta (Petit Le Mans)

October 2                    Phoenix 1.0 mile oval

October 16                  Mazda Raceway

Dates may shift slightly, from Saturday to Sunday perhaps, as the detailed schedules are finalized. We will keep you posted, and update our web site continually.

SCCA has, so far, refused our request for FA classification of the Pro Car; you can run in FS in regional competition. If you care about SCCA, write to them and tell them how you feel, and send us a copy so we know.

Gary E. Rodrigues